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City  of  Detroit 



CLARENCE  M.  BURTON,  Editor-in-Chief 
Wn^LIAM  STOCKING,  Associate  Editor 
GORDON  K.  MILLER,  Associate  Editor 



































Spain's  policy  toward  the  Indians — the  french  policy' — the  English  policy 




























BRITISH  DOMINATION:    1760-1796 














UNION     137 



By  Clarence  M.  Burton 

character  op  people the  military  commandant priest  as  arbitrator — 

Cadillac's  autocratic  rule — incendiarism — criminal  assault — military 











By  Clarence  M.  Burton 














By  Clarence  M.  Burton 
organization  of  northwest  territory territorial  laws  and  courts — 






















OF  AREAS.  . 295 

CONTENTS  ■  ix 

















By  William  Stocking 

THE    two    departments    THAT    MAKE    FOR    SECURITY    AND    ORDER — EARLY    PRE- 


LISHED       398 



William  Stocking,  Contributing  Editor 






X  •         CONTENTS 


By  William  Stocking 

By  Clarence  M.  Burton 

THE    FIRST    platting    OF    THE    TOWN WIDE    STREETS    AND    OPEN    SPACES THE 




By  William  Stocking 
the  state  democratic  in  early  days the  rising  tide  of  anti-slavery 





PAIGN       463 



By  William  Stocking 

slavery  and  the  colored  people  in  michigan adoption  of  the  higher 

law the    blackburn    rescue    and    riot other    slave    rescues the 

underground  railroad  and  its  operation the  anti-negro  riot   of 

1863 plans  formulated  here  for  the  john  brown  raid  in  1859 a 

notable  celebration  of  negro  enfranchisement 475 





METHODS — Cadillac's    land    grants — immigration    encouraged — under 


















OF  Detroit's    greatest    industry — Cadillac — ford    motor   company — 

packard dodge hudson hupmobile maxwell other      automobile 

companies — Detroit's  war  industries — liberty  motor — general  motors 

corporation automobile  accessory  and  body  plants miscellaneous 

establishments 530 



Clarence  M.  Burton  and  William  Stocking,  Contributing  Editors 











By  William  Stocking 

primitive  modes  of  travel  on  land  and  lake — the  indian  trail  the  first 
i  connecting  link  between  villages — blazed  the  way  for  modern  trans- 
'  portation    lines the    beginning    of    highway    building — different 

Vol.  1—2 








By  William  Stocking 







By  Clarence  M.  Burton 







ANCES   FOR    SCHOOLS — ACT    OF    1827 SCHOOL    LAW    OF    1833 — FREE    SCHOOL 







































ILL    FEELING    AMONG    THE    INDIAN   TRIBES ATTACK    OF    1703 AFFAIR    OF    1706 



PLOT  OF  1747 866 






OF   THE    WAR 873 







Campbell's  death — continuation  of  siege — arrival  of  dalzell's  com- 
mand—battle    OF     BLOODY     RUN TRUCE      DECLARED EVENTS     OF     1764 





By  Clarence  M.  Burton 

importance   of  detroit  in  the   revolution detroit  and  the  adjacent 

country streets,    buildings    and    character    of    the    village the 

fortifications the  french  inhabitants coming  of  hamilton — illegal 

acts  of  hamilton  and  dejean hamilton's   employment  of  indians 

inter-post  communications arrival  of  captain  lerxoult — hamilton's 

desire    to    escape    detroit indictment   of   hamilton   and    dejean 

Hamilton's  expedition  to  vincennes — clark  retakes  vincennes — 
hamilton  and  dejean  as  prisoners detroit  under  lernoult con- 
dition  of  detroit appointment  of  de  peyster the   post  under  de 

peyster the  story  of  colonel  la  balme — indian  claims  and  legal 

procedure meaning    of    the    term    "  fort " religion    in    detroit 







INDIAN  WARS:     1783-1811 







THE  WAR  OF  1812 









BORN'S   career:    his    mistakes — beginning    OF   THE    TRIAL — HULL's    CAREER 






SKETCH    OF    CHIEF    BLACK    HAWK TREATY    OF     1804 — IN    THE    WAR    OF     1812 



COST    OF    THE    WAR 1052 






IN     DETROIT — hunters'     LODGES — CAPTURE     OF     THE     ANN UNITED     STATES 













DENT   OF    DETROIT 1071 



Spain's  oppression  of  cuba — the  lopez  expedition — the  ten  years'  war — • 


















COLLEGE    OF    LAW 1120 



By  J.  H.  Dempster,  M.  D.,  F.  A.  C.  P. 






xviii  CONTENTS 



By  William  Stocking 

Detroit's  place  in  literature  and  art — the  first  historians  and  chron- 






By  William  Stocking 

detroit  men  in  public  life — new  england's  contributions  during  the 
formative  period — men  who  established  the  character  of  the  new 
commonwealth — distinguished  governors  and  eminent  judges — a  long 
line  of  united  states  senators  from  detroit — a  few  cabinet  officers 
and  foreign  ministers 1199 







THE    STORY    OF    A    TITLE — A    LOST    DEED 1268 






By  Clarence  M.  Burton 

directory  of  cadillac's  village,  1701-1710 — detroit  residents  in  1789 — in 
1795 — detroit   in    1820 the   prominent   families   and   names   of  the 

DAY 1314 

























WAYNE    COUNTY    IN    1805 — BOUNDARIES    OF    1815 — PROCLAMATION    OF    1816 — ■ 









LAGES  1559 


Portrait  Clareuce  M.  Burton                                           •                    Opposite  title 

Cadillac  Village  in  1701 73 

Plan  from  Conveyances  of  Cadillac 79 

De  Lery 's  Plan  of  Detroit,  1749 99 

Old  "Moran"  House,  built  about  1734 107 

Detroit  in  1763,  from  Bellin's  Atlas  of  1764 115 

Southeast  Corner  Farmer  and  John  R  Streets,  House  built  about  1811 ....  127 

Old  Campau  House,  Erected  in  1813 139 

Old  Hamtramck  House  in  1891 139 

Early  view  of  Woodward  Avenue 147 

Campus  Martins,  South  from  Woodward,  1894 147 

View  of  Detroit  in  1796 161 

Detroit  River  Front  of  Jones  and  Cass  Farms,  1819 161 

Detroit  River  from  Windmill  Point,  1838 161 

Ste.  Anne's  Street  (Jefferson  Ave.),  in  1800 171 

Detroit  in  1826,  from  Drawing  by  General  ilacomb 183 

James  May,  Earlj'  Merchant  and  Trader 251 

Solomon  Sibley 279 

Original  plan  of  Detroit,  after  fire  of  1805 297 

Mullett's  map  of  Governor  and  Judge's  plan,  1830 301 

S.  W.  Corner  Griswold  Street  and  Lafayette  Boulevard,  1873 307 

St.  Andrews  Hall,  1882 307 

View  from  City  Hall  tower,  W^estward,  about  1877 313 

Eastside  Woodward  Avenue,  about  1885 313 

Corner  Michigan  Avenue  and  Lafayette  Boulevard  in  the  '90s 317 

N.  E.  Corner  Woodward  and  Campus  Martins  about  1881 317 

Campus  Martins  in   1919 323 

Detroit    Skj'scrapers 329 

Vinton   Building    335 

Book  Building   335 

Real  Estate  Exchange 339 

Majestic  Building   339 

Kresge  Building  345 

Recreation   Building    345 

Old  State  Capitol,  later  used  as  High  School 349 

Municipal    Court    Building 349 

Wayne  County  Building 353 

Old  City  Hall,  Campus  Martius,  1870 357 

Old  City  Hall  and  Surroundings  in  1862 : 357 

Old  and  New  City  Halls 361 

Removal  from  Old  City  Hall,  in  1872 361 

Old  Post  Office  and  U.  S.  Custom  House 367 



Excavation  for  old  Post  Office,  Griswold  and  Larned 367 

Water  Works   Park 375 

Highland  Park  Railway,  early    '90s 393 

Detroit  Railway  Company.     Opening  day,  1895 393 

Municipal  Building,  Clinton  and  Raynor  Streets,  1890 399 

Old   Firemen's   Hall,   1870 403 

Fire   Headquarters,    1881 403 

Old   Block   House 407 

Old  Jail,  stood  on  the  site  of  Public  Library 407 

Gratiot  Avenue  Police  Station,  1874 407 

Police  Courtroom,  rear  of  jail  1870 413 

Old   Detroit   Jail 413 

Protestant  Orphan  Asylum,  Jefferson  Avenue,  1881 417 

The  First  Industrial  School  Building  in  1879 423 

Second  Industrial  School  Building,  still  standing 423 

Dedication  and  Opening  of  Grand  Boulevai-d 431 

Old  Belle   Isle  Casino 439 

The  Casino,  Belle  Isle,  1922 439 

Old  Belle  Isle  Bridge,  destroyed  by  fire 449 

Burning  of  Belle   Isle   Bridge 449 

First  State  Election  held  in  Detroit,  1837 465 

Old  Finney  Hotel,  built  in  1853 479 

The  Old  Finney  Bam 479 

John  Palmer  homestead,  built  in  1823 495 

Residence  of  Gov.  J.  J.  Bagley  (site  of  Statler  Hotel) 495 

Old  Sheley  House,  Woodward,  near  Gratiot,  in  1867 495 

N.  E.  Corner  Woodward  and  Jefferson  Avenues,  1858 499 

Woodward  Avenue,  Grand  River  to  Clifford,  1876 499 

East  side  of  Washington  Avenue,  1897 503 

Old  Abbott  Homestead,  built  in  1835 503 

Broadway  Market   507 

Old  Market  on  Cadillac  Square 507 

David  Whitne.y   Building 511 

Site  of  David  Whitney  Building,  1881 511 

Southeast  Corner  Woodward  Ave.  and  John  R  Street  in  1883 517 

North  side  of  Michigan  Ave.,  East  of  Griswold  St.,  in  1891 517 

Newcomb-Endicott    Company 521 

Scotch  Store,  N.  E.  Corner  Woodward  and  Jefferson  Avenues 521 

Fyfe  Building    525 

N.  W.  Corner  Woodward  and  Adams,  in  the  '80s 525 

General  Victors  Building 531 

Thomas  Berry 539 

Merrill  Mills   539 

Daniel  Scotten 539 

Christian  H.  Buhl  539 

Frederick  Stearns  &  Company 547 

Parke,  Davis  &  Company 547 

Berry   Brothers    Plant 553 

Dodge  Brothers  ]\Iotor  Car  Company 553 


Micliigan  Stove  Company 559 

Buri-oughs   Adding   IMachine    Company 559 

Packard  ]\Iotor  Car  Company 567 

Maxwell   Motor  Company 567 

Ford  Motor   Company 576 

Paige-Detroit  Motor  Car  Company 585 

Home  of  the  Hudson  Super-Six 585 

The  Timken-Detroit  Axle  Company 593 

Main  Factory  of  Hupp  Motor  Car  Company 593 

The  J.  "W.  Murray  ilanufacturing  Company 605 

D.  M.  Ferry  &  Company 605 

Penberthy  Injector  Company 611 

Roberts  Brass  Works 611 

George  H.  Hammond,  Sr 617 

Simon  J.  Murphy 617 

Alexander  McGraw   617 

Francis  Palms 617 

S.  E.  Corner  Griswold  and  Congress,  about  1881 623 

Site  of  Union  Trust  Building  in  early  '90s 623 

Wayne  County  Savings  Bank  and  Masonic  HaU  in  the  '90s 629 

Michigan  Exchange,  cor.  Jefferson  and  Shelby 629 

Hugh  McMillan 637 

Hiram  Walker 637 

John  S.  Newberiy   637 

Henry  B.  Ledyard 637 

Old  Russell  House,  site  of  First  National  Bank  Building 646 

Demolition  of  Pontchartrain  Hotel,  1920 646 

Russell   House   in   1881 646 

Pontchartrain  Hotel 647 

New  First  National  Bank  Building,  erected  in  1921 647 

Wayne  County  Home  and  Savings  Bank 653 

People 's   State   Bank 653 

The  National  Bank  of  Commerce 659 

Peninsular  State  Bank 665 

City  Hall  and  Dime  Bank  Building 665 

Michigan  Central  Railroad  Buildings  in  1861 689 

Michigan  Central  Terminal 689 

Michigan  Central  Depot,  1853-1883 695 

Michigan  Central  Depot  Yard,  about  1868 695 

David  Bacon  715 

First  Free   School   Building,    1838-42 733 

Central   High   School 733 

Ruins  of  Detroit  High  School,  burned  1893 739 

Old  Detroit  High   School 739 

Original  Cass  School,  about  1881 747 

Bishop  School,  about  1881 747 

Rev.  John  Monteith 753 

Old  University  Building,  Bates  Street,  1858 759 

Jesuit  College  (University  of  Detroit)  about  1881 765 


University  of  Detroit 765 

Detroit  Female  Semiuaiy,  built  in  1834 771 

German-American    Seminary,    1882 771 

Old  Catholic  School  Building  on  Gratiot  Road,  1864 781 

Academy  of  Sacred  Heart,  about  1881 781 

James  E.  Scripps 791 

William  E.  Quinby 791 

William  II.  Brearky 791 

Richard   S.   Willis 791 

Detroit  Daily  Post  Building 801 

Ruins  of  Detroit  Tribime  Building,  1873 801 

Free   Press   Building 809 

Evening  News   Building 815 

Journal  Building  821 

Evening  News   Building,    about   1881 821 

Detroit  Public  Library  in  1881 839 

New  Detroit  Public  Library 839 

Old  Arsenal,  built  in   1816 859 

Fort  Lernoult,  location  compared  with  present  city  plan 863 

Old  Pontiac  Tree, 883 

Old  Pontiac  Tree,  in  1881 883 

Heniy  Hamilton 911 

Fort  du  Detroit  in  1775 921 

View  of  Detroit  in  1796,  from  Original  painting  in  Paris 959 

Detroit,  1796.     (Plan  of  town.) 971 

Plan  of  Gov.  William  Hull  in  1809 981 

William  Hull    991 

Facsimile  of  Hull's  First  Letter  to  Brock 991 

General  Lewis  Cass 1001 

Facsimile  of  Hull's  Second  Letter  to  Brock 1015 

William  Evans  drew  this  map  during  War  of  1812 1025 

Administering  the  Oath  of  Allegiance,  1861 1073 

Presentation  of  Colors  to  First  Michigan  Infantry,  1861 1079 

Meeting  on  site  of  City  Hall,  1865,  account  of  Lincoln's  death 1085 

Old  City  Hall  and  site  of  present  City  Hall, 1091 

Triumphal  Arch,  Woodward  and  Jefferson,  August  27,  1862 1091 

Unveiling  of  Soldiers'  and  Sailors'  monument,  April  2,  1872 1101 

House  occupied  by  U.  S.  Grant,  at  253  Fort  Street,  East 1105 

House  occupied  by  U.  S.  Grant,  at  Corner  Jefferson  and  Russell 1105 

John  R.  W^illiams,  First  :\Iayor  of  Detroit 1121 

Judge   J.   V.    Campbell 1121 

Joseph   Campau 1121 

Judge  Isaac  Marston 1131 

Judge  Thomas  M.  Cooley 1131 

Judge  James  Witherell 1131 

Judge  Ross  Wilkins 1131 

Theodore  Romeyn 1141 

Alexander  D.  Fraser 1141 

Halmor  H.  Emmons 1141 


Charles  C.  Trowbridge 1141 

Alfred  Russell 1151 

Charles  I.  "Walker 1151 

Divie  B.  Duffield 1151 

Joseph  P.  Marsac 1167 

Dr.  Herman  Kief er 1167 

Dr.  Marshall  Chapin 1167 

Providence  Hospital   1175 

Ford   Hospital    1183 

Harper  Hospital    1183 

Alexander  Chapoton 1198 

Frederick  Bates 1198 

John  Winder 1198 

George  Jerome   1198 

Judge  Benjamin  P.  H.  Witherell 1201 

Henry  Ledyard 1201 

William  C.  Maybmy 1201 

Hon.  Benjamin  G.  Stimson 1201 

WUliam  Woodbridge 1205 

John  J.  Bagley 1205 

Henry  P.  Baldwin 1205 

Hazen  S.  Pingree 1205 

Russell  A.  Alger 1209 

Thomas  AY.  Palmer 1209 

James  McMillan   1209 

Zaehariah  Chandler  1209 

Rev.  Gabriel  Richard 1213 

Ste.  Anne's  Church,  built  in  1818 1217 

Ste.  Anne's  Church,  Fourth  one  erected 1217 

Ste.  Anne's  Roman  Catholic  Church  (French),  1887 1221 

St.  Joseph's  Protestant  Episcopal  Church,  about  1881 1221 

St.  Charles  Borromeo  Roman  Catholic  Church 1225 

St.  Aloysius  Roman  Catholic  Church  in  1882 1225 

Rev.   George  Duffield 1229 

First  Presbyterian,  or  First  Protestant  Church,  in  1874 1229 

Old  Scotch  Presbj-terian,  about  1871 1229 

Fort  Street  Presbyterian  Church 1233 

View  of  Churches  on  East  side  of  Woodward,  1849 1233 

St.  John's  Protestant  Episcopal  Church,  in  1881 1237 

Cathedral  of  SS.  Peter  and  Paul  (foi-merly  St.  Patrick's)  in  1880 ,1237 

Original  Christ  Episcopal  Church,  in  1860 1243 

Church  of  Our  Father ;  Michigan  Conservatory  of  Music 1243 

First   Congregational  Church,  1857 1249 

First  Brick  Building  of  the  First  Baptist  Church 1249 

Central   Methodist   Episcopal   Church 1255 

First  Methodist  Episcopal  Church,  in  1860 1255 

First   Unitarian    Church 1261 

First   Church  of   Christ,   Scientist 1261 

Temple   Beth   El 1265 


Congregation  Shaarey  Zedek,  Detroit 1265 

Elliott  T.  Slocum 1459 

Shubael  Conant    1459 

Chaimcey  Hurlbut 1459 

Frederick  Buhl 1459 

Theodore  H.  Hinchman 1473 

D.  M.  Ferry 1473 

Thomas  McGraw 1473 

Christopher  R.  Mabley 1473 

Richard  H.  Fyfe 1487 

Joseph  L.  Hudson 1487 

Martin  S.  Smith 1487 

Henry  A.  Newland 1487 

Campus  Martins   and   Majestic    Building   Corner 1505 

Campus  Martius,  Looking  up  Monroe  Avenue,  in  1873 1505 

Ruins  of  Detroit  Opera  House,  October  9,  1897 1511 

Detroit  Opera  House  and  Surroundings  in  1878 1511 

Whitney  Opera  House  1876 1517 

Y.  M.  C.  A.  Building 1523 

University  Club   1523 

Old   Biddle   House 1529 

Steamboat  Hotel    1529 

Hotel   Statler    1535 

Hotel  Fort  Shelby 1535 

Masonic  Temple  1541 

Elks  Club   1541 

Maps  of  Wayne  County 1551 

Maps  of  Wayne  County 1555 

Detroit   Athletic    Club 1561 

Detroit    Club    1561 

Country  Club   1575 

Detroit  Golf   Club   House 1575 

The  City  of  Detroit 







Wayne  County,  of  whieli  Detroit  is  the  county  seat,  is  situated  in  the 
southeastern  pai-t  of  the  Lower  Peninsula  of  Michigan.  It  is  bounded  on  the 
north  by  the  counties  of  Oakland  and  Macomb ;  on  the  east  by  the  Detroit 
River,  ^Yhich  separates  it  from  the  Dominion  of  Canada ;  on  the  south  by  the 
County  of  Monroe,  and  on  the  west  hj  the  County  of  Washtenaw.  According 
to  Rand-MeNally's  Atlas  of  the  United  States,  the  area  of  the  county  i.s  626 
square  miles.  (For  changes  in  area  and  boundary  lines  see  Chapter  LVII.) 
Observations  made  by  the  United  States  Geological  Survey  show  Detroit  to  be 
located  in  latitude  43°  19'  50"  north  and  in  longitude  83°  2'  5"  west  of 


In  January,  1839,  Bela  Hubbard,  then  assistant  state  geologist,  submitted  to 
Governor  Mason  the  first  official  report  concerning  the  topography  of  the 
county.  This  report  says:  "Nearly  the  whole  of  Wayne  County  is  included 
in  that  portion  of  the  peninsula  constituting  the  eastern  border,  in  which  no 
considerable  prominences  occur,  and  the  descent  to  the  coast  is  gradual  and 
uniform.  In  this  county,  consequently,  if  we  except  the  township  in  the 
northwest  corner,  the  general  level  is  varied  only  by  gentle  undulations  or 
isolated  sand  ridges,  forming  no  continuous  ranges  and  seldom  exceeding  the 
relative  height  of  twenty  feet.  Along  the  whole  eastern  border  of  the  county 
the  altitude  at  a  distance  of  six  miles  from  the  coast  varies  but  little  from 
thirty-three  to  thirty-six  feet.  At  a  single  point  only,  in  the  vicinity  of 
Detroit,  it  attains  to  forty-five  feet  above  the  river." 

Below  the  River  Rouge,  beginning  about  two  or  three  miles  from  the 
Detroit  River,  was  in  early  days  a  chain  or  network  of  wet  prairies,  the  ground 
gradually  rising  until  at  the  west  line  of  the  county  it  was  about  one  hundred 
and  forty  feet  higher  than  at  the  river.  The  streams  in  the  southwestern 
part  of  the  county  therefore  have  a  swifter  current  and  are  available  for  water 
power.  Mr.  Hubbard  reported  sixty-three  square  miles  of  marsh  land,  dis- 
tributed over  the  county  as  follows :    Eleven  sections  in  Brownstown  Township  : 

Vol.  1-3  33 


eighteen  sections  in  Ecorse;  four  sections  in  Greenfield  and  Redford,  which 
he  describes  as  "good  cranberry  land;"  ten  sections  in  Hamtramck;  ten 
sections  in  Huron  and  ten  in  Romulus. 

About  the  little  lakes  and  ponds  in  these  wet  prairies  and  marshes  was  once 
a  fruitful  field  for  the  trapper.  Beavers  were  plentiful  here  until  about  the 
beginning  of  the  Nineteenth  Century,  when  they  disappeared.  The  early  settlers 
cut  large  quantities  of  wild  hay  from  these  wet  lands  to  provide  sustenance  for 
their  live  stock  during  the  long,  cold  winters. 

In  the  northwestern  part  the  gi-ound  is  more  rolling  and  broken  into  frequent 
ridges,  which  often  rise  sixty  or  eighty  feet  above  the  general  surface.  The 
dividing  line  between  the  lands  of  this  character  and  the  more  level  tracts,  which 
constitute  the  remainder  of  the  county,  is  marked  by  a  low  gravelly  j-idge, 
supposed  to  have  been  at  some  remote  period  in  the  past  the  shore  of  the  lake. 
The  course  of  this  ridge  is  from  northeast  to  southwest,  passing  through  the 
northwest  corner  of  Livonia  Township,  entering  Plymouth  about  two  miles 
from  the  northern  boundary,  and  crossing  the  west  line  of  the  county  near  the 
southwest  corner  of  Canton  Township. 


The  Detroit  River,  which  flows  along  the  eastern  border,  forms  the  inter- 
national boundary  between  the  United  States  and  the  Dominion  of  Canada, 
though  the  United  States  exercises  jurisdiction  over  the  greater  portion  of  the 
stream.  By  act  of  Congress,  approved  by  President  Monroe  on  December 
19,  1819,  the  river  was  declared  to  be  a  public  thoroughfare  for  the  passage  of 
vessels.  It  receives  all  the  waters  of  Waj'ne  County  except  the  Huron  River. 
The  name,  which  is  of  French  origin,  means  "The  Strait." 

From  the  point  where  it  leaves  Lake  St.  Clair  to  the  point  where  it  empties 
into  Lake  Erie,  the  distance  is  a  little  less  than  twenty-eight  miles.  At  its 
narrowest  point,  in  front  of  the  City  of  Detroit,  it  is  a  little  over  half  a  mile 
wide.  The  greatest  width,  at  the  foot  of  Grosse  He,  is  about  three  miles,  and 
the  average  width  is  about  one  mile.  The  average  depth  is  about  thirty-five 
feet  and  it  is  navigable  for  the  largest  vessels  on  the  lakes.  There  are  but  few 
rivers  in  the  world  that  surf)ass  the  Detroit  in  the  volume  of  water  that  passes 
through  its  channel.  It  is  the  outlet  of  the  largest  three  of  the  Great  Lakes — 
Huron,  Michigan  and  Superior — and  all  the  streams  that  empty  into  them. 
The  area  drained  by  the  Detroit  is  as  great  as  that  drained  by  the  Ohio, 
though  the  latter  is  nearly  one  thousand  miles  long.  Likewise,  there  are  but 
few  rivers  that  present  more  attractive  scenery.  Along  its  course  are  numerous 
islands,  which  rise  like  emeralds  from  the  clear,  tranquil  water,  and  passengers 
upon  the  great  steamers  never  tire  of  watching  the  constantly  changing  pano- 


Beginning  at  Lake  St.  Clair,  the  principal  islands  in  the  Detroit  River  are  as 
follows :  La  Peche,  or  Isle  of  the  Fishes,  which  is  on  the  Canadian  side  of 
the  river  and  was  once  the  summer  home  of  Pontiac,  the  great  chief  of  the 
Ottawa  nation.  Belle  Isle  (formerly  called  Rattlesnake  and  later  Hog  Island) 
is  now  the  property  of  the  City  of  Detroit  and  one  of  its  most  beautiful  parks. 
(A  history  of  Belle  Isle  appears  in  another  chapter.)  Turkey  Island  (also 
called  Fighting  Island)   a  long,  narrow  island  on  the  Canadian  side,  takes  its 


name  from  the  great  numbers  of  wild  turkeys  found  there  in  early  times.  This 
island  was  the  scene  of  the  contest  between  the  Indians  under  Pontiac  and 
the  vessel  sent  to  relieve  the  fort  at  Detroit  in  1763.  The  remains  of  an  old 
Indian  earthwork  at  the  upper  end  were  plainly  visible  in  the  early  years  of 
the  Nineteenth  Centurj-.  Near  the  foot  of  thLs  island  are  Little  Turkey  and 
Mammy  Judy  islands.  The  latter,  containing  about  thirty  acres,  was  named 
for  an  old  Indian  squaw  who  used  to  come  there  every  year  during  the  fishing 
season,  and  who  finally  died  on  the  island.  Mud  and  Grassy  islands  lie  between 
Turkey  Island  and  the  Michigan  shore. 

Grosse  He  is  the  largest  in  the  river.  An  old  French  document  of  1717 
says:  "It  is  very  fine  and  fertile  and  extensive,  being  as  it  is  estimated 
from  six  to  seven  leagues  in  circumference.  There  is  an  extraordinary  quantity 
of  apple  trees  on  this  island,  and  those  who  have  seen  the  apples  on  the 
ground  say  they  are  more  than  half  a  foot  deep ;  the  apple  trees  are  planted 
as  if  methodically  and  the  apples  are  as  large  as  small  pippins.  Abundance 
of  excellent  millstones  are  found  on  this  island;  all  around  it  are  very  fine 
prairies.  It  was  a  long  time  doubtful  whether  Detroit  should  not  be  founded 
there.  The  cause  of  the  hesitation  was  the  apprehension  that  the  timber  might 
some  day  fail." 

About  the  foot  of  Grosse  He  are  gi'oupecl  a  number  of  smaller  islands,  viz. : 
Bois  Blane  (or  Whitewood),  Calf,  Celeron  (or  Tawa),  Elba,  Fox,  Hickory, 
Horse,  Humbug  and  Sugar.  Several  of  the  islands  in  the  river  were  the  scenes 
of  stirring  events  during  the  early  wars. 


As  previously  stated,  the  Detroit  River  receives  the  waters  of  all  the  streams 
of  Wayne  County,  except  those  of  the  Huron  River,  which  empties  into  Lake 
Erie  at  the  southeast  comer  of  the  count.y.  The  Huron,  the  largest  stream  in 
the  count}',  has  its  source  in  the  lakes  and  marshes  of  Livingston  and  Washtenaw 
counties.  At  first  it  flows  in  a  southerly  direction,  but  near  the  City  of  Dexter 
it  turns  eastward  and  enters  Wayne  County  about  nine  miles  north  of  the 
southwest  corner.  Near  the  Village  of  Romulus  it  turns  toward  the  southeast 
and  follows  that  direction  until  it  empties  into  Lake  Erie,  near  the  mouth  of 
the  Detroit  River.  During  the  last  eight  or  ten  miles  of  its  course  it  forms  the 
boundary  line  between  Wayne  and  ilonroe  counties. 

Next  in  importance  is  the  River  Rouge,  which  is  formed  by  the  north,  south, 
east  and  west  branches.  The  North  Branch  is  formed  near  Redford  Corners 
by  the  Belle  River,  Powers  Creek  and  some  smaller  streams.  Its  general  course 
is  southeast  until  it  unites  with  the  West  Branch  near  the  center  of  Dearborn 

The  South  Branch  rises  near  the  western  boundary  of  the  county  and  flows 
east  through  Canton,  Nankin  and  Dearborn  townships,  uniting  with  the  main 
stream  near  Dearborn  Village.    It  is  sometimes  called  the  "Lower  Rouge." 

The  East  Branch,  formed  by  Campbell's,  Holden  and  Knagg's  creeks,  falls 
into  the  main  stream  near  the  Village  of  Delray.  Knagg's  Creek  and  some  of 
the  others  contributing  to  the  formation  of  this  branch  are  now  within  the 
city  limits  and  have  been  filled  in  and  the  "made  land"  converted  into  cit.v  lots. 

The  West  Branch  rises  in  Washtenaw  County.  It  enters  Wayne  about  four 
miles  south  of  the  northwest  corner  and  flows  in  a  northeasterly  direction  to 
Northville.     There  it  changes  its  course  to  southeast  and  unites  with  the  North 


aud   South  braui-hes  near  Dearborn.     From  that   point   tlie  Ronge  folhnvs  an 
easterly  course  to  the  Detroit  River. 

The  Belle  River,  one  of  the  principal  tributaries  of  the  North  Branch  of  the 
River  Rouge,  is  only  a  few  miles  in  length.  It  is  formed  in  Livonia  Township 
by  Collins  and  Briggs  creeks  aud  a  few  minor  streams,  flows  in  an  easterly 
direction  and  empties  into  the  North  Branch  near  the  center  of  Redford  Town- 

The  southeastern  portion  of  the  county  is  watered  by  the  Ecorse  River,  which 
flows  through  the  township  of  the  same  name ;  Big  Browustowu  and  Hunting- 
ton creeks,  which  empty  into  the  Detroit  River  a  short  distance  below  Gibraltar ; 
and  Smith's  aud  Silver  creeks,  which  unite  and  empty  into  the  Huron  about 
a  mile  above  its  mouth. 

Connor's  (also  called  Tromblj'"s)  Creek,  in  the  northeastern  part,  flows  in 
a  southeasterly  course  and  empties  into  the  Detroit  River  near  the  upper  end 
of  Belle  Isle. 

In  the  southwestern  townships  are  a  number  of  small  streams,  such  as  "Willow 
Creek,  Swan  Creek,  Tonquist  and  Woods"  creeks  aud  Willow  Run,  which  fall 
into  the  Huron  River  ov  the  West  Branch  of  the  Rouge. 

Pi'obably  one  of  the  oldest  maps  in  existence,  showing  accurately  the  courses 
of  the  various  creeks  and  rivers  of  Wayne  County,  is  that  prepared  under  the 
supervision  of  Dr.  Doiiglas  Houghton  to  accompany  his  report  as  state  geologist 
in  1840.  More  modern  maps  show  no  important  changes,  except  within  the  city 
limits  of  Detroit,  where  some  small  streams  have  been  fllled  in  or  converted  into 
sewers.  Foremost  among  the  creeks  that  have  thus  been  obliterated  were 
Knagg's  Creek,  alread}'  mentioned,  May's,  Parent's  and  Savoyard  creeks. 

May's  Creek,  so  named  for  James  May,  one  of  the  early  judges  of  the 
Court  of  Quarter  (Sessions,  was  known  as  Campau's  River  about  the  middle  of 
the  Eigliteenth  Century  and  later  as  Cabacier's  Creek,  after  Joseph  Cabacier, 
who  lived  near  it.  Jacques  Peltier  built  a  grist  mill  on  this  creek  during  the  old 
French  regime,  and  the  stream  furnished  water  enough  to  run  the  mill  about 
one-half  of  each  year.  The  mill  stood  just  north  of  Fort  Street,  not  far  from 
the  point  where  that  street  was  afterward  crossed  bv  the  ^Michigan  Central 

Parent's  Creek  was  the  most  historic  of  all  these  extinct  watercourses.  It 
had  its  source  in  Private  Claim  No.  183,  in  Grosse  Pointe  Township,  flowed  in 
a  southerly  direction,  passing  through  Elmwood  Cemetery,  and  emptied  into  the 
Detroit  River  about  a  mile  and  a  half  above  the  old  French  fort.  The  creek  was 
doubtless  named  for  Joseph  Parent,  a  gunsmith,  whose  name  appears  in  the 
records  of  St.  Anne's  Church  as  early  as  ^lay,  1707.  It  was  on  the  banks 
of  this  creek  that  Captain  Dalzell  was  defeated  and  killed  by  the  Indians  during 
the  Poutiac  war,  after  which  the  stream  was  kudwu  as  "Bloody  Run." 

The  Savoyard  Creek  had  its  source  in  a  willow  swamp,  not  far  from  the 
present  intersection  of  and  Riopelle  streets  and  flowed  in  a  westerly 
course.  It  is  said  to  have  derived  its  name  from  the  fact  that  one  of  the  early 
settlers  near  it  came  from  Savoy.  Farmer  says  that  the  Detroit  boys  had  a 
favorite  fishing  hole  where  the  creek  crossed  Woodward  Avenue.  An  old 
map  shows  that  it  emptied  into  the  river  near  the  foot  of  Fourth  Street.  The 
people  living  along  the  creek  used  it  as  a  receptacle  for  all  sorts  of  waste  matter. 
After  Fort  Shelby  was  abandoned,  hunber  was  taken  from  the  fortiticatiiui  and 
used  to  protect  the  sides  from  falling  in.     As  population   increased   aiul   the 


quantity  of  garbage,  ett.,  dumped  into  the  stream  grew  greater,  the  stenches 
that  arose  from  the  creek  rivaled  those  mentioned  by  the  poet  Coleridge  in  his 
description  of  the  City  of  Cologne.  In  1836  the  city  authorities  declared  it  a 
nuisance  and,  at  great  expense,  walled  and  covered  it  with  stone,  converting 
it  into  a  sewer. 

According  to  the  report  of  the  state  geologist  for  1876,  the  oldest  exposed 
rocks  in  Wayne  County  are  the  limestones  of  the  Helderberg  and  Water-lime 
groups.  The  former  is  found  over  an  area  of  limited  extent  in  the  south- 
eastern corner  of  the  state,  including  Monroe  County,  the  southeastern  part 
of  Wayne  and  the  ea.stern  part  of  Lenawee.  In  Monroe  the  rock  outcrops  in 
nearly  all  the  streams,  but  in  Wayne,  where  the  drift  deposits  are  deeper,  the 
exposures  are  less  frequent.  The  upper  division  of  the  Helderberg  group  is 
found  at  Trenton,  where  quarries  were  opened  at  an  early  date.  Here  the 
upper  ledges  are  covered  only  by  a  thin  layer  of  loamy  drift.  They  are  lime- 
stones of  a  light  color,  segregated  in  beds  about  six  feet  in  thickness  and  rich  in 
fossils.  The  stone  from  these  quarries  has  been  used  chiefly  for  lime,  yielding 
a  white,  quick-slaking  lime  of  superior  quality.  Below  these  beds  is  found  a 
compact,  gray,  crystalline  limestone  in  ledges  from  eight  inches  to  two  feet 
thick,  an  excellent  stone  for  building  purposes. 

Gibraltar,  on  the  Detroit  River  about  four  miles  below  Trenton,  marks  the 
northern  exposure  of  the  Water-line  group.  At  this  point  the  lower  rock 
series  come  to  the  surface  in  the  bed  of  the  creek  near  its  mouth.  The  stone  is 
described  as  "a  somewhat  absorbent,  crystalline  dolomite,  of  gray  color  and 
laminated  structure,  in  layei-s,  from  one  to  two  feet  thick."  Stone  of  this  quality 
has  also  been  quarried  on  the  lower  end  of  Grosse  He. 

Near  Flatrock  the  Huron  River  runs  over  ledges  of  the  Water-lime  forma- 
tion. Here  the  stone  is  a  hard,  drab-colored  dolomite,  crystalline  in  texture, 
with  flinty  concretions  and  containing  but  few  fossils.  Tlie  deposits  here  are  too 
far  below  the  surface  to  be  profitably  quarried. 

During  the  period  of  French  rule,  the  inhabitants  of  Detroit  obtained  stone 
from  the  deposits  about  Trenton  and  Gibraltar  for  chimneys  to  their  log  houses. 
Farmer's  "History  of  Detroit"  (p.  367)  says  that  by  1763  limekilns  had 
been  established  and  a  few  .stone  buildings  had  been  erected  inside  the  stockade. 
In  1870  some  workmen,  engaged  in  digging  a  trench  for  a  water  main  on  Jefi'er- 
son  Avenue,  unearthed  an  old  stone  fireplace  with  its  iron  crane  for  holding 
kettles  still  fast  in  the  stone  work.  It  was  found  about  four  or  five  feet  below 
the  surface  and  was  supposed  to  have  been  the  fireplace  in  a  cellar  kitchen 
of  a  house  within  the  fort. 

Dr.  Douglas  Houghton,  in  his  report  as  state  geologist,  submitted  to 
Govei-nor  Mason  in  1838,  says:  "At  a  distance  of  six  or  seven  miles  northwest 
of  Detroit,  and  in  the  County  of  Wayne,  bog  (iron)  ore  occui-s  at  intervals  over 
an  extent  of  several  hundred  acres,  but  I  have  not  been  able  to  examine  it  with 
sufficient  care  to  determine  its  extent ;  I  think,  however,  there  can  be  little  doubt 
but  it  exists  in  sufficient  quantities  to  be  turned  to  practical  account." 

Subsequent  surveys  located  the  richest  of  these  deposits  in  Greenfield  Town- 
ship and  near  the  southern  border  of  Livonia  To^^'nship.     By  analysis  the  ore 


was  found  to  contain  nearly  seventy-four  per  cent  of  •peroxide  of  iron,  but  it 
does  not  appear  that  any  attempt  was  ever  made  to  give  tlie  deposits  a  com- 
mercial value. 


Clay  suitable  for  briekmaking  has  been  found  at  several  points  in  the 
county.  The  first  brickj-ards  in  the  county  were  established  in  what  is  now 
Springwells  Township.  They  were  operating  on  an  extensive  scale  at  the  time 
Michigan  was  admitted  into  the  Union  in  1837,  and  are  mentioned  in  the  early 
reports  of  the  state  geologist  as  obtaining  their  supply  of  raw  material  "from 
the  blue  clay  beds  in  the  drift." 

Doctor  Houghton,  in  his  early  reports  as  state  geologist,  also  speaks  of 
two  briclij'ards  in  operation  on  the  South  Branch  of  the  River  Rouge  near 
Schwarzburg,  -where  clay  of  a  fine  quality  was  found  along  the  river  bank  in  a 
stratum  ranging  from  two  to  four  feet  in  thickness. 

Just  west  of  Northville,  in  Ph^nouth  Township,  is  a  deposit  of  clay  of  fine 
texture  that  has  been  utilized  for  the  manufacture  of  bricks  and  earthenware. 
In  Section  27  of  the  same  township  there  is  a  bed  of  fine  clay  covering  an  area 
of  eighty  acres  or  more. 

At  Flat  Rock,  on  the  Huron  River,  there  is  an  extensive  deposit  of  blue  clay, 
but  it  contains  so  much  lime  that  all  attempts  to  use  it  for  briclanaking  have 
been  unsuccessful.  Farther  up  the  river  both  the  blue  and  yellow  claj'S  are  of 
a  better  character.  Fifty  years  ago  or  more  a  brickyard  was  in  successful 
operation  near  the  mouth  of  Woods'  Creek,  in  the  southeast  corner  of  Van 
Buren  Township. 

Peat  was  discovered  at  a  comparatively  early  date  in  the  marsh  lands  of 
what  are  now  Brownsto^vn,  Ecorse,  Greenfield,  Hamtramck  and  Huron  town- 
ships, but  little  or  no  use  has  been  made  of  the  deposits.  The  only  bed  of 
shell  marl  mentioned  in  the  Michigan  Geological  Reports  is  near  the  center  of 
PljTnouth  Township  (Section  22).  Overlying  the  marl  is  a  bed  of  peat,  which, 
like  those  above  mentioned,  has  never  been  used.  Gravel  and  sand,  suitable  for 
concrete  work  and  building  purposes,  are  found  at  various  places  in  the 


Far  back  in  the  geologic  past,  about  the  close  of  the  Tertiary  period,  came 
the  Pleistocene  or  "Ice  Age,"  during  which  all  the  central  part  of  North 
America  was  covered  with  a  vast  sheet  of  ice,  which  extended  westward  to  the 
Rocky  Mountains.  This  glacier  was  formed  in  the  northern  part  of  the  con- 
tinent by  successive  falls  of  snow.  The  weight  added  by  each  snowfall  aided 
in  compressing  the  mass  below  into  a  solid  body  of  ice.  As  the  temperature 
rose  the  entire  glacier  began  to  move  slowly  southward,  carrying  with  it  great 
bowlders,  cla}^s,  soils,  etc.,  to  be  deposited  in  regions  far  distant  from  the 
places  where  they  were  taken. 

As  the  huge  mass  of  ice  moved  slowly  along,  the  bowlders  and  other  hard 
sub.stances  at  the  bottom  of  the  glacier  left  scratches  or  strife  upon  the  bed 
rocks,  and  from  these  scorings  the  has  been  able  to  determine  the 
course  of  the  glacier.  At  various  places  in  the  territory  once  covered  by  the 
great  central  glacier  the  strife  have  been  noted  upon  the  rocks,  indicating  the 
general  direction  traveled  by  the  glacier  to  have   been   toward  the  southeast. 


into  a  latitude  where  the  rays  of  the  sun  began  to  melt  the  ice.  With  the 
disappearance  of  the  ice,  the  solid  materials  carried  by  the  glacier  were 
deposited  upon  the  bed  rocks  or  preglacial  soil  in  the  fonn  of  drift. 

Where  the  drift  was  deposited  in  a  ridge  at  the  edge  of  the  glacier,  the 
slight  elevation  is  called  a  "lateral  moraine."  The  ridge  formed  where  two 
glaciers,  or  two  sections  of  a  great  glacier  moving  in  slightly  different  directions, 
came  together  is  Icnown  as  a  "medial  moraine."  The  ridge  which  marks  the 
point  where  the  last  of  the  ice  was  dissolved  is  called  a  "terminal  moraine." 
There  is  no  doubt  that  some  of  the  ridges  in  Wayne  County  were  formed  by 
glacial  action.  These  ridges  are  either  lateral  or  medial  moraines,  the  terminal 
moraines  of  the  great  central  glacier  being  found  farther  southward,  in  the 
states  of  Indiana  and  Ohio. 

How  long  the  glacial  epoch  lasted,  or  how  long  since  it  occurred,  is  largely 
a  matter  of  conjecture.  Some  geologists  estimate  the  duration  of  the  "Ice  Age" 
as  half  a  million  years,  and  that  the  last  of  the  ice  disappeared  more  than  a 
thousand  centuries  ago.  At  the  close  of  the  glacial  period  the  surface  of  the 
earth,  over  which  the  glacier  had  passed,  was  void  of  either  vegetable  or 
animal  life.  Gradually  the  frost  and  rains  leveled  the  surface,  the  heat  of  the 
sun  warmed  the  chilled  earth,  the  winds  carried  the  seeds  of  plants  and 
deposited  them  upon  the  soil  and  life  in  its  primitive  forms  made  its  appearance. 

Wayne  County,  in  common  with  all  the  Lower  Peninsula,  is  covered  with 
glacial  drift.  Soil  formed  of  drift  material,  being  composed  of  a  great  variety 
of  mineral  constituents,  usually  has  all  the  chemical  requirements  of  a  fertile 
soil.  Exceptions  to  this  rule  are  seen  in  places  where  the  assorting  of  drift 
materials,  by  floods  or  atmospheric  action,  is  sometimes  carried  to  such  a  degree 
as  to  destroy  fertility.  A  bed  of  clay,  sand  or  gravel  is  not  a  soil,  but  a  mixture 
of  all  three  constitutes  a  soil  that  will  produce  vegetation. 

Originally,  about  two-thirds  of  the  county  were  heavily  timbered  with 
beech,  basswood,  black  walnut,  elm,  hickory,  oak  and  a  few  other  varieties  of 
trees,  with  some  chestnut  on  the  sandy  ridges  in  Dearborn  and  Van  Buren 
townships.  The  remaining  third  consisted  of  small  plains  called  "oak  open- 
ings," a  fine  description  of  which  is  found  in  J.  Fennimore  Cooper's  novel 
of  that  name. 

In  the  timbered  portions  the  soil  is  composed  chiefly  of  clay,  sand  and  loams, 
silex  forming  an  important  ingredient,  and  the  clay  usually  contains  a  large 
percentage  of  lime,  which  adds  to  the  fertility.  Soil  of  this  character,  through- 
out the  southern  portion  of  the  Lower  Peninsula,  is  well  adapted  to  horticultvire 
and  many  fine  orchards  and  vineyards  have  been  planted  in  this  section  of 
the  state.  The  soil  in  the  oak  openings  is  generally  sandy  and  less  productive, 
but  by  careful  cultivation  it  can  be  made  to  produce  fair  crops.  In  recent 
years,  by  a  liberal  application  of  commercial  fertilizers,  the  farmers  of  Wayne 
County  have  been  able  to  produce  an  abundance  of  vegetables  of  all  sorts  and 
of  excellent  quality. 

Like  that  of  most  of  the  cities  in  the  Great  Lake  region,  the  climate  of 
Detroit  is  modified  by  the  adjacent  bodies  of  water.  Records  of  the  United 
States  Weather  Bureau  show  that  the  average  mean  temperature  for  twenty- 


five  years,  for  the  period  from  May  to  September,  inclusive,  never  exceeded 
72°  Fahrenheit,  while  the  mean  winter  temperature  was  26°,  the  coldest  weather 
occurring'  in  February.  The  mean  annual  temperature  therefore  varies  but 
little  from  that  of  other  cities  in  the  same  latitude. 

Observations  have  shown  that,  when  the  entire  year  is  taken  into  con- 
sideration, the  proportion  of  clear  days  to  cloudy  ones  is  about  two  to  one, 
though  in  the  summer  and  autumn  months  the  proportion  of  clear  days  to 
cloudy  is  approximately  five  to  one.  The  average  yearly  rainfall  at  Detroit 
is  about  forty  inches.  Usually  June  is  the  month  of  greatest  precipitation  (aver- 
age nearly  four  inches)  and  the  least  rainfall  occurs  in  the  months  of  Decem- 
ber and  February. 

M.  de  Bougainville,  who  visited  Detroit  in  1757,  wrote:  "The  atmosphere 
is  of  great  beauty  and  serenity.  It  is  a  magnificent  climate,  having  almost 
no  cold  weather  and  only  a  little  snow.  The  cattle  stay  in  the  fields  all  winter 
and  find  their  living  there." 

No  doubt  the  principal  reason  why  Bougainville  and  other  early  travelers 
noticed  so  little  snow  is  that  the  open  surface  of  the  Great  Lakes  has  a  tendency 
to  increase  the  temperature  and  the  snow  often  melts  as  fast  as  it  falls.  The 
snowfall  was  probably  much  heavier  than  these  early  visitors  realized.  The 
winter  of  177!*-80  was  one  of  the  most  severe  on  record.  Snow  covered  the 
ground  practically  all  winter,  the  cold  was  intense  and  in  the  spring  the  bodies 
of  horses  and  cattle  were  found  by  scores  in  the  woods,  where  they  had  perished 
from  exposure  and  starvation.  The  winter  of  1785-86  was  also  one  of  extreme 
cold  and  deep  snow.  As  late  as  March  1,  1786,  the  snow  was  four  feet  in  places 
where  it  had  not  been  disturbed.  In  Lake  St.  Clair  the  ice  was  three  feet 
thick  a  mile  from  the  shore  and  did  not  disappear  until  May.  About  the  middle 
of  April,  1821,  eight  inches  of  snow  fell,  and  on  ]\Iay  1,  1824,  the  snow  was  a 
foot  deep. 

As  the  great  lumbering  interests  cut  off  the  pine  forests,  the  destruction  of 
the  timber  wielded  an  influence  upon  the  climate,  which  has  become  more 
variable  than  formerly,  though  liea\y  snows  still  occur  occasionally.  About  the 
middle  of  January,  1877,  a  snow  storm  caused  the  suspension  of  railway  traffic 
for  several  days.  At  noon  on  April  6,  1886,  a  snow  storm  commenced  and  by 
midnight  the  snow  was  two  feet  deep  on  the  level.  The  high  wind  blew  the 
snow  into  drifts  and  all  street  ears  stopped  running  until  late  the  next  day. 

As  a  rule,  the  autumns 'in  Detroit  are  the  most  delightful  and  enjoyable 
seasons  of  the  year.  There  is  but  little  rainfall  and  the  "Indian  Summer" 
frequently  extends  into  the  latter  part  of  November. 


No  fewer  than  six  names  have  been  bestowed  upon  the  site  of  Detroit  and 
the  white  settlement  there  established.  Early  Indian  tribes  called  the  place  Yon- 
do-ti-ga,  meaning  a  "Great  Village."  Other  tribes  gave  it  the  name  of 
Wa-we-a-tnn-ong,  which  meant  "Crooked  Way,"  or  "Circuitous  Approach," 
on  account  of  tlie  great  bend  in  the  river  between  Lake  St.  Clair  and  Fighting 
Island.  Anollicr  Indian  name  was  Tsych-sa-ron-dia,  which  also  refere  to  the 
bend  in  the  river.  In  the  Colonial  Archives  of  New  York  State,  this  name  is 
found  spelled  in  various  ways,  the  most  frequent  of  which  is  Teuchsa  Grondie. 
The  Huron  Indians  called  the  place  Ka-ron-ta-en,  "The  Coast  of  the  Straits." 

Such  were  the  names  conferred  by  the  natives.    When  Cadillac  founded  his 


settlement  here  in  1701,  it  was  at  first  called  Fort  Ponteliartrain,  in  honor  of 
Count  Pontchartrain,  then  the  French  minister  of  marine.  Early  French  ex- 
plorers and  travelers  designated  all  the  waters  connecting  Lake  Huron  and 
Lake  Erie — the  St.  Clair  Eiver,  Lake  St.  Clair '  and  the  Detroit  River — as 
Detroit,  that  is  "the  strait."  So  the  settlement  at  Foi-t  Pontchartrain  was 
christened  Detroit,  from  which  is  derived  its  popular  sobriquet  of  the  "City  of 
the  Straits." 









Before  the  white  mau  the  Indian;  before  the  Indian,  who?  The  question 
is  moi-e  easily  asked  than  answered.  Owing  to  various  theories  advanced,  the 
origin  of  the  aboriginal  inhabitants  of  Central  North  America  is  veiled  in 
obscurity.  A  number  of  writers — men  who  made  a  special  study  of  the  subject 
— among  whom  were  Prescott  and  Schoolcraft,  have  asserted  their  belief  that 
the  first  occupants  of  the  continent  were  descendants  of  the  lost-  tribes  of  Israel. 
They  support  their  theory  with  interesting  and  ingenious  arguments  to  show 
that  it  was  not  impossible  for  them  to  have  come  from  Asia,  either  by  being 
drifted  across  the  Pacific  Ocean  or  by  way  of  Behring's  Strait  and  thence  south- 
ward into  what  are  now  the  United  States  and  Mexico.  Cadillac,  the  founder  of 
Detroit,  was  an  advocate  of  this  theory.  An  old  document  found  in  the  French 
Archives,  written  by  him,  sets  forth  the  reasons  for  his  belief  that  the  Indians 
were  of  Hebrew  origin. 


The  first  white  settlements  along  the  Atlantic  coast  were  made  in  the  early 
pai't  of  the  Seventeenth  Century.  Almost  a  eenturj'  and  a  half  elapsed  after 
these  settlements  were  founded,  before  evidences  were  discovered  to  show  that 
the  interior  had  once  been  peopled  by  a  peculiar  race.  Says  one  of  the  reports 
of  the  United  States  Bureau  of  Ethnology : 

"During  a  period  beginning  some  time  after  the  close  of  the  Ice  Age  and 
ending  with  the  coming  of  the  white  man — or  only  a  few  generations  before — 
the  central  part  of  North  America  was  inhabited  by  a  people  who  had  emerged 
to  some  extent  from  the  darkness  of  savagery,  had  acquired  certain  domestic 
arts,  and  practiced  some  well-defined  lines  of  industry.  The  location  and  boun- 
daries inhabited  by  them  are  fairly  well  marked  by  the  mounds  and  earthworks 
they  erected." 

The  center  of  this  ancient  civilization — if  such  it  may  be  called — appears  to 
have  been  in  the  present  State  of  Ohio.  From  the  relics  left  by  these  early 
people  arehffiologists  have  given  them  the  name  of  "Mound  Builders."  ilost 
of  the  mounds  so  far  discovered  are  conical  in  shape  and  when  explored  have 
generally  been  found  to  contain  skeletons.    For  this  reason  they  have  been  desig- 



nated  as  burial  mounds.  Others  are  in  the  form  of  truncated  pj-ramids — that  is, 
square  or  rectangular  at  the  base  and  flattened  on  the  top.  The  mounds  of  this 
class  are  usually  much  higher  than  the  burial  mounds  and  are  supposed  to  have 
been  lookouts  or  signal  stations.  Here  and  there  are  to  be  seen  well-defined 
lines  of  earthworks,  indicating  that  they  had  been  used  for  defensive  purposes 
against  invading  enemies.  In  a  few  instances,  the  discovery  of  a  large  mound, 
surrounded  by  an  embankment,  outside  of  which  are  a  number  of  smaller 
mounds,  has  given  rise  to  the  theory  that  such  places  were  centers  of  religious 
worship  or  sacrifice. 

Cyrus  Thomas,  of  the  United  States  Bureau  of  Ethnology,  has  divided  the 
region  once  inhabited  by  the  Mound  Builders  into  eight  districts,  in  each  of 
which  there  are  certain  characteristics  not  common  to  the  others.  The  location 
of  these  districts  can  be  fairly  well  determined  by  their  names,  to  wit :  1.  The 
Dacotah;  2.  The  Huron-Iroquois ;  3.  The  Illinois;  4.  The  Ohio;  5.  The  Ap- 
palachian; 6.  The  Tennessee;  7.  The  Arkansas;  8.  The  Gulf  District. 

The  second  of  these  districts — the  Huron-Iroquois — embraces  the  country 
once  inhabited  by  the  Huron  and  Iroquois  Indians.  It  includes  the  greater 
part  of  the  State  of  New  York,  a  strip  across  the  northern  part  of  Ohio,  the 
Lower  Peninsula  of  Michigan  and  extends  northward  into  Canada.  Through- 
out this  district  burial  mounds  are  numerous,  a  few  fortifications  have  been  noted 
and  "hut  rings,"  or  foundations  of  ancient  dwellings,  are  plentiful. 


A  few  miles  down  the  Detroit  River  from  the  City  of  Detroit,  in  Spring- 
wells  Township,  was  once  a  gi-oup  of  mounds,  circular  or  oval  in  fonn,  with  two 
parallel  embankments  about  four  feet  high  leading  eastward,  toward  the  Detroit 
River.  Henrj'  Gillman,  at  one  time  a  curator  of  the  Detroit  Scientific  Society  and 
later  librarian  of  the  Detroit  Public  Library,  wrote  a  description  of  these  mounds, 
which  was  published  in  the  report  of  the  Smithsonian  Institution  for  1873.  He 
says : 

"One  of  the  most  interesting  works  of  this  region,  and  which,  till  a  few  years 
ago,  formed  a  member  of  a  numerous  series  of  mounds  in  the  immediate  vicinity, 
is  the  tumulus  which  I  have  named  'The  Great  ilound  of  the  River  Rouge.'  This, 
in  many  respects,  remarkable  work  is  situated  on  the  eastern  bank  of  the  River 
Rouge,  a  tributarj'  of  the  Detroit,  and  near  the  point  of  junction  of  the  fonner 
with  the  latter  river,  or  about  four  and  a  half  miles  from  the  City  Hall  of 

"The  size,  shape  and  well-defined  outlines  of  the  monument  could  hardly 
fail  to  attract  the  attention  of  even  the  superficial  observer  and  impress  him  as 
to  its  being  the  work  of  man.  "With  a  height  of  20  feet,  it  must  originally  have 
measured  300  feet  in  length  by  200  in  width,  but  large  quantities  of  sand  have 
been  removed  from  time  to  time,  greatly  reducing  its  proportions  and  scatter- 
ing or  destroying  relics.  The  smaller  mounds,  extending  from  the  Great  Mound 
to  the  eastward,  have  long  since  been  removed,  so  has  the  greater  number  of 
smaller  mounds  which  one  stood  immediately  below  the  southern  city  limits. 
Those  which  remain  are  rapidly  disappearing,  being  used  for  building  sand. 

"The  relics  exhumed  from  the  Great  Mound  (which  has  not  even  yet  been 
thoroughly  explored)  consist  of  stone  implements,  such  as  axes,  scrapers,  chisels, 
arrow  heads  and  knives;  fragments  of  pottery  of  a  great  variety  of  patterns. 


iueliidiiig  the  favorite  eord  pattern ;  and  the  bones  of  man,  generally  mueh  de- 
cayed and  exhibiting  other  indications  of  antiquity. 

"About  three-fourths  of  a  niile  north  and  eastward  of  the  Great  Rouge 
Mound,  and  a  few  hundred  feet  westward  of  Fort  Wayne,  being  over  one-third 
of  a  mile  from  the  Detroit  River,  occurs  the  monument  which  I  have  named 
'The  Great  Circular  Mound.'  Eleven  skeletons  were  here  exhumed,  with  a  large 
number  of  burial  vases;  stone  implements  in  great  variety  and  superior  work- 
manship, consisting  of  axes,  spears,  arrow  heads,  chisels,  drillers  and  sinkers; 
pipes,  ornaments  of  shell  and  stone ;  also  a  peculiar  implement  of  unknown  use 
formed  from  an  antler,  and  two  articles  made  of  copper,  one  the  remains  of  a 
necklace,  consisting  of  a  number  of  beads,  and  the  other  a  needle  several  inches 
in  length." 


Who  were  the  'Jlound  Builders?  Various  authors  have  written  upon  the 
subject  and  nearly  every  one  has  a  theory  as  to  their  origin.  Some  maintain  that 
they  first  established  their  civilization  in  the  Ohio  Valley,  whence  they  worked 
their  way  gradually  southward  into  Mexico  and  Central  America,  where  the 
white  man  found  their  descendants  in  the  Aztec  Indians.  Others,  with  argu- 
ments equally  logical  and  plausible,  contend  that  the  Mound  Builders  originated 
in  the  South  and  migrated  northward  to  the  country  about  the  Great  Lakes, 
where  their  further  progress  was  checked  by  hostile  tribes.  Practically  all  the 
early  writers  were  agreed  upon  one  thing,  however,  and  that  was  that  the  Mound 
Builders  were  a  vei*y  ancient  race.  The  principal  reasons  for  this  view  were 
that  the  Indians  had  no  traditions  concerning  many  of  the  relics,  and  upon 
many  of  the  mounds  and  earthworks,  when  first  discovered,  were  trees  several 
feet  in  diameter,  indicating  that  the  relics  were  of  great  antiquity.  Regarding 
the  antiquity  of  the  mounds  in  Wayne  County,  Mr.  Gillman,  in  the  article  already 
referred  to,  says: 

"Indian  tradition  says  that  the  mounds  were  built  in  ancient  times  by  a 
people  of  whom  they  (the  Indians)  know  nothing,  and  for  whom  they  have  no 
name ;  that  the  mounds  were  occupied  by  the  Turtle  Indians  and  subsequently 
by  the  Wyandottes,  but  were  constructed  long  before  their  time.  *  *  *  That 
these  people  are  identical  with  the  race  whose  monuments  of  various  descrip- 
tions are  found  in  such  remarkable  abundance  to  the  westward  and  southward, 
through  Ohio,  Kentucky  and  Tennessee,  even  to  the  gulf  of  Mexico,  admits  now 
of  no  question ;  a  race  whose  craniological  development  and  evidently  advanced 
civilization  apparently  separate  it  from  the  North  American  Indian  and  ally  it 
to  the  ancient  Brazilian  type." 

Among  the  earliest  writers  on  the  sub.ject  of  the  ilound  Builders  were  Squier 
and  Davis,  who  about  the  middle  of  the  Nineteenth  Century  published  a  work 
entitled,  "Ancient  Monuments  of  the  Mississippi  Valley."  Between  the  years 
1845  and  1848  these  two  investigators  opened  over  two  hundred  mounds.  Fol- 
lowing the  lead  of  Squier  and  Davis,  other  investigators  supported  their  theory 
that  the  ilound  Builders,  who  once  inhabited  the  Ohio  and  Mississippi  valleys, 
were  of  a  different  race  from  the  Indians  found  here  by  the  white  man. 

In  more  recent  years  archa?ologists,  who  have  made  extensive  research  among 
the  mounds,  are  practicallj'  a  unit  in  the  conclusion  that  the  Mound  Builder  was 
nothing  iiioi'c  than  the  ancestor,  more  or  less  remote,  of  the  Indian. 



When  Christopher  Columbus  made  his  first  voyage  to  the  Western  Hemis- 
phere in  1492,  he  believed  that  he  had  reached  the  goal  of  his  long  cherished 
ambitions  and  that  the  country  where  he  lauded  was  the  eastern  shore  of  Asia. 
Early  European  explorers  in  America,  entertaining  a  similar  belief,  thought 
the  eounti-y  was  India  and  gave  to  the  race  of  copper  colored  people  they  found 
here  the  name  of  "Indians."  Later  explorations  disclosed  the  fact  that  Colum- 
bus had  really  discovered  a  continent  hitherto  unknown  to  the  civilized  nations 
of  the  world.  The  error  in  geography  was  corrected,  but  the  name  given  by  the 
first  adventurers  to  the  natives  still  remains. 

Probably  more  pages  have  been  written  relating  to  the  Indian  tribes  of 
North  America  than  on  any  other  one  subject  connected  with  American  history. 
To  the  student  of  history  there  is  a  peculiar  fascination  in  the  stoiy  of  these 
savage  tribes — their  legends,  traditions,  wars  and  customs — that  makes  the  topic 
always  one  of  surpassing  interest,  and  no  history  of  Detroit  and  its  environs 
would  be  complete  without  some  account  of  the  tribes  tliat  inhabited  the  country 
before  the  advent  of  the  white  man. 


The  North  American  Indians  are  divided  into  several  groups  or  families,  each 
of  which  is  distinguished  by  certain  physical  and  linguistic  characteristics.  Each 
of  these  groups  is  subdivided  into  tribes  and  each  tribe  is  ruled  over  by  a  chief. 
At  the  beginning  of  the  Sixteenth  Centuiy,  when  the  first  Europeans  began 
their  explorations  in  America,  they  found  the  various  leading  Indian  families 
distributed  over  the  continent  as  follows : 

In  the  far  north  were  the  Eskimo,  a  people  that  have  never  played  any  con- 
spicuous part  in  history.  These  Indians  still  inhabit  the  country  about  the  Arctic 
Circle,  where  some  of  them  have  been  occasionally  employed  as  guides  to  polar 
expeditious,  which  has  been  about  their  only  association  with  the  white  race. 

The  Algonquian  family,  the  most  powerful  and  numerous  of  all  the  Indian 
groups,  occupied  a  great  triangle,  roughly  bounded  by  the  Atlantic  coast  from 
Labrador  to  Cape  Hatteras  and  by  lines  drawn  from  those  two  points  to  the 
western  end  of  Lake  Superior.  Within  this  triangle  lived  the  Delaware,  Shawnee, 
Miami,  Pottawatomi,  Chippewa,  Ottawa,  Sac,  Fox,  Huron,  Winnebago  and  other 
powerful  tribes,  which  yielded  slowly  to  the  advance  of  the  superior  race. 

Almost  in  the  very  heart  of  the  Algonquian  triangle — along  the  upper 
reaches  of  the  St.  Lawrence  River  and  the  shores  of  Lake  Ontario — lived  the 
Iroquoian  group,  the  principal  tribes  of  which  were  the  Cayuga,  Mohawk, 
Oneida,  Onondaga,  and  Seneca. 

South  of  the  Algonquian  country  and  extending  from  the  ^Mississippi  River 
to  the  Atlantic  coast  was  the  domain  of  the  Muskhogean  family.  The  leading 
tribes  of  this  group  were  the  Chei'okee,  Chickasaw,  Choctaw  and  Creek.  The 
Indians  of  this  gi-oup  were  among  the  most  intelligent,  as  well  as  the  most 
aggressive  and  warlike,  of  all  the  North  American  tribes. 

Of  the  groups  inliabiting  the  western  part  of  the  present  United  States, 
the  strongest  was  the  Siouan,  whose  domain  was  about  the  headwaters  of  the 
Mississippi  and  extending  westward  to  the  Jlissouri  River.     It  was  composed  of 


a  number  of  tribes  closely  resembling  each  other  in  physical  appearance  and 
dialect,  all  noted  for  their  warlike  tendencies  and  military  prowess. 

South  and  west  of  the  Siouan  country  lived  the  ' '  Plains  Indians, ' '  composed 
of  tribes  of  mixed  stock,  including  the  Arapaho,  Cheyenne  and  Pawnee  (or  Pani) 
in  the  north,  and  the  Apache,  Comanche  and  Kiowa  in  the  south.  All  these 
tribes  were  of  bold  and  vindictive  disposition,  expert  horsemen  and  skilful 
hunters.  West  of  the  Plains  Indians  dwelt  the  Shoshoneau  family,  one  of  the 
smallest  on  the  continent,  the  principal  tribes  of  which  were  the  Bannock  and 
Shoshone,  and  farther  southward,  in  what  are  now  the  states  of  Arkansas  and 
Louisiana,  was  the  Caddoan  family,  or  "hut  builders." 

Scattered  over  other  parts  of  the  country  were  numerous  minor  tribes,  which 
in  all  probability  had  separated  from  some  of  the  great  families,  but  who,  at 
the  time  they  first  came  in  contact  with  the  white  man,  claimed  kinship  with 
none.  These  tribes  were  generally  inferior  in  numbers,  often  nomadic  in  their 
habits,  and  consequently  are  of  little  importance  historically. 

In  a  history  such  as  this  it  is  not  the  design  to  attempt  any  extended  account 
of  the  Indian  race  as  a  whole,  but  to  notice  only  those  tribes  whose  history  is 
more  or  less  intimately  connected  with  the  region  about  Detroit,  to  wit :  The 
Chippewa,  Huron,  Iroquois,  Mascouten,  Miami,  Pottawatomi,  Sac  and  Fox, 
Winnebago  and  some  minor  tribes  that  were  really  only  subdi\-isions  or  offshoots 
of  the  larger  ones. 


This  was  one  of  the  largest  tribes  of  the  Algonquian  family.  The  Indian 
name  was  "Ojibwa,"  meaning  "to  roast  till  puckered  up,"  a  name  conferred 
by  other  tribes  on  account  of  the  Chipiiewa  method  of  making  moccasins  with 
a  puckered  seam  around  the  edge.  Morgan  divides  the  Chippewa  into  twenty- 
four  elans  or  gentes,  the  principal  ones  of  which  were  the  wolf,  bear,  beaver, 
bald  eagle  and  sturgeon. 

A  Chippewa  tradition  says  that  at  an  early  date  the  tribe  was  closely  allied 
with  the  other  Algonquian  subdivisions,  especially  the  Ottawa  and  Pottawatomi. 
During  this  period  they  inhabited  both  shores  of  the  northern  part  of  Lake 
Michigan  and  the  country  about  the  foot  of  Lake  Superior.  The  French  gave 
them  the  name  of  Sauteaux,  from  the  Sault  Ste.  Marie.  At  Mackinaw  the 
Chippewa  withdrew  from  the  alliance  and  moved  westward  into  what  is  now 
the  State  of  Minnesota,  ultimately  extending  their  domain  to  the  Turtle  River 
in  North  Dakota. 

Although  a  large  tribe  numerically,  it  was  not  as  prominent  in  history  as 
some  of  the  smaller  ones.  Some  of  the  Chippewa  lived  near  the  site  of  Detroit 
before  the  coming  of  Cadillac  and  became  the  friends  of  the  French.  When  the 
post  was  surrendered  to  the  English  in  1760  they  transfen-ed  their  allegiance 
to  the  new  power.  After  the  United  States  came  into  control,  the  tribe  con- 
tinued to  receive  presents  from  the  British  until  1820,  when  a  treaty  of  peace 
was  concluded  with  them  by  Gov.  Lewis  Cass. 


The  Huron  nation  was  composed  of  four  well  organized  tribes  of  Iroquoian 
stock,  commonly  called  the  Bear.  Cord,  Deer  and  Rock  people,  and  was  known 
as  the  Wendat   (Vendat)  Confederacy.     The  name.  Huron  is  derived  from  the 


French  "hure,"  signifying  "bristly,"  and  was  given  to  these  Indians  on  account 
of  their  coarse,  bristly  hair. 

In  1615  Champlain  found  the  four  confederated  tribes  living  about  the 
Georgian  Bay  and  along  the  eastern  coast  of  Lake  Huron.  He  estimated  their 
number  at  30,000  and  says  they  had  eighteen  populous  villages,  eight  of  which 
were  fortified  with  palisades.  About  forty  j'ears  after  Champlain 's  visit,  they 
became  involved  in  a  war  with  the  Five  Nations  and  were  driven  to  take  refuge 
with  the  Erie  Indians,  whom  they  persuaded  to  join  them  in  the  war.  In  1656 
they  were  again  defeated  and  many  of  their  warriors  killed.  The  survivors  fled 
to  Christian  Island,  in  the  Georgian  Bay,  but  finding  that  locality  unsafe  they 
retired  to  Michilimackinac,  whither  they  were  pursued  by  their  old  enemy.  The 
Iroquois  advance  was  then  checked  by  the  Chippewa,  the  Hurons  retiring  to 
the  vicinity  of  Green  Bay,  where  they  formed  an  alliance  with  some  of  the 
Ottawa  and  Pottawatomi. 

According  to  the  Jesuit  Relations,  a  Huron  settlement  was  founded  in  1670 
on  Mantoulin  Island,  where  the  next  year  Father  Marquette  established  the 
mission  of  St.  Ignace.  When  Cadillac  founded  the  post  at  Detroit,  he  adopted 
the  policy  of  having  as  many  friendly  Indians  as  possible  locate  near  the  fort. 
On  June  28,  1703,  thirty  Huron  families  from  the  St.  Ignace  mission  arrived 
at  Detroit  and  set  up  their  wigwams.  They  were  soon  joined  bj'  others  of  the 
tribe  and  an  old  French  memoir  of  1707  says : 

"The  Hurons  are  also  near,  perhaps  the  eighth  of  a  league  from  the  French 
fort.  This  is  the  most  industrious  nation  that  can  be  seen.  They  scarcely  ever 
dance  and  are  always  at  work;  raise  a  veiy  large  amoiuit  of  Indian  corn,  peas 
and  beans;  grow  some  wheat.  They  construct  their  huts  entirely  of  bark,  very 
strong  and  solid ;  very  lofty  and  verj'  long  and  arched  like  arbors.  Their  fort 
is  strongh'  encircled  with  pickets  and  bastions,  well  redoubted  and  has  strong 
gates.  They  are  the  most  faithful  nation  to  the  French,  and  the  most  expert 
hunters  that  we  have." 

After  some  years  at  Detroit,  a  portion  of  the  tribe  went  to  Sandusky,  Ohio. 
In  1745  the  French  commandant  at  Detroit  provoked  the  enmity  of  the  chief 
Orontonj^  (or  Nicholas),  who,  with  his  following,  left  Detroit  and  joined  those 
at  Sandusky.  There  he  began  the  fonnation  of  a  conspiracy  for  the  destruction 
of  the  French  posts  at  and  above  Detroit,  but  a  Huron  woman  revealed  the 
plot  to  a  Jesuit  priest,  who  in  turn  notified  Longueuil,  the  commandant  at 
Detroit.  Orontony  then  destroyed  his  village  near  Sandusky  and  with  his 
warriors  and  their  families  established  a  new  one  on  the  White  River  in  Indiana, 
where  he  died  in  the  fall  of  1748. 

Upon  the  death  of  their  chief  the  Indians  returned  to  Detroit  and  Sandusky, 
where  they  took  the  name  of  Wyandot  instead  of  Huron.  As  the  Wyandot 
nation  they  laid  claim  to  the  greater  part  of  what  is  now  the  State  of  Ohio. 
During  the  War  of  1812  they  supported  the  English  cause  and  by  the  peace  of 
1815  the  tribe  was  granted  a  large  tract  of  land  in  Ohio  and  Michigan.  Most 
of  this  tract  was  ceded  to  the  United  States  in  1819,  the  Indians  accepting  two 
reservations,  one  near  Upper  Sandusky  and  the  other  on  the  Huron  River,  not 
far  from  Detroit.  These  reservations  were  sold  in  1842  and  the  occupants  re- 
moved to  what  is  now  Wyandotte  County,  Kansas,  where  they  lived  for  twenty- 
five  years,  when  they  were  removed  to  the  Indian  Territory.  The  remnant  of 
the  once  great  Huron  nation  now  lives  on  a  resei'vation  in  the  northeasft  corner 
of  Oklahoma. 



Strictly  sjieakiim'  tliei'i'  were  no  Iroquois  Indians;,  tliat  name  being'  applied 
in  a  general  way  to  all  the  tribes  of  the  same  linguistic  stock,  ethnologically 
known  as  the  Iroquoian  family.  In  1534  Jacques  Cartier  found  these  Indians 
on  the  sliore  of  the  Gaspe  Basin  and  on  both  banks  of  the  St.  Lawrence  River 
between  Qneliec  and  ^Montreal,  which  was  their  first  acquaintance  witli  tlie 
white  race. 

The  word  Iroquois  means  ""We  are  of  the  extended  lodge,'"  and  was  given 
to  the  confederac.v  formed  about  1570  by  the  Cayuga,  ]\Iohawk,  Oneida,  Onon- 
daga and  Seneca  tribes,  after  wars  with  other  tribes  led  them  to  unite  for 
their  common  defense.  This  confederacy  was  known  to  the  early  settlers  of 
New  York  as  the  "Five  Nations."  At  that  time  the  allied  tribes  claimed  nearly 
all  the  St.  Lawrence  Valley,  the  basins  of  Lake  Ontario  and  Lake  Erie,  the 
eastern  sliore  of  Lake  Huron,  especially  the  eountrj^  about  the  Georgian  Bay, 
and  all  the  present  State  of  New  York  except  the  lower  Hudson  Valley. 

In  this  confederacy  each  tril)e  was  an  independent  political  unit,  which  sent 
delegates  to  a  general  council.  The  Five  Nations  were  second  to  none  north 
of  Mexico  in  political  organization,  statecraft  and  military  prowess.  Their 
chiefs  were  diplomats  of  ability  and  nearl.v  always  proved  a  match  for  tlie 
white  men,  when  the  two  races  met  in  council  for  the  negotiation  of  treaties, 
etc.  In  1722  the  Tuscarora  tribe  was  added  to  the  confederacy,  which  then 
took  the  name  of  the  "Six  Nations." 

Champlaiii,  in  one  of  his  early  expeditions,  joined  a  party  of  Canadian 
Indians  at  war  with  the  Five  Nations,  who  thereby  became  bitter  and  lasting 
enemies  of  the  French.  Jesuit  and  Franciscan  missionaries  tried  in  vain  to 
win  them  to  the  Catholic  faith  and  in  the  French  and  Indian  war  they  fought 
on  the  side  of  the  British. 

About  1650  French  travelers  estimated  the  Iroquois  population  at  20.000. 
They  were  nearly  always  at  war  with  the  neighboring  tribes,  from  New  England 
•to  Lake  Michigan,  where  their  westward  advance  was  checked  by  the  Chippewa. 
These  wars  depleted  their  ranks  and  at  the  close  of  the  French  and  Indian  war 
they  numbered  about  10,000,  with  fifty  villages.  They  sometimes  were  repre- 
sented in  the  councils  lield  at  the  Huron  or  ^Vyandot  village,  near  the  mouth 
of  the  Detroit  River,  Init  as  a  rule  they  were  the  enemies  of  all  the  Indians 
about  Detroit,  particularly  those  on  fi-iendly  terms  with  the  French.  They 
were  cruel  in  war  and  it  is  stated  on  ai^pareutly  good  authority  that  they  often 
ate  the  flesli  of  their  enemies  killed  in  battle. 


Some  ethnologists  classify  this  tribe  as  part  of  the  Sac  and  Fox  confederacy 
and  others  as  the  "Prairie  Band"  of  tlie  Pottawatomi.  This  is  probably  due 
to  the  confused  accounts  concerning  their  early  history.  In  1616  Champlain 
met  with  a  tribe  that  he  designated  as  the  Asi.staguerouon,  which  inhabited  the 
country  south  and  west  of  Lake  Huron.  Twenty  years  later,  Sagard  stated 
that  the  Mascouten  countiy  was  nine  or  ten  days'  jouniey  west  of  the  south 
end  of  the  Georgian  Bay.  In  1634  Nicolas  Perrot  found  them  living  on  the 
Fox  River  in  Wisconsin,  and  the  Jesuit  Relation  for  1646  says  that  up  to  the 
time  of  Perrot  "s  visit  no  white  man  had  seen  them  and  no  missionaries  had 
been  among  them.     They  called  themselves  the  "little  prairie  people." 


Marest,  writing  of  this  tribe,  says  that  in  1712  he  found  a  number  of  them 
living  on  the  Ohio  River,  near  the  mouth  of  the  Wabash,  where  they  had  located 
only  a  short  time  before.  It  was  part  of  this  band  who,  with  some  of  the 
Kickapoo,  joined  in  the  Fox  attack  on  Detroit  in  May,  1712,  which  may  have 
had  something  to  do  with  the  theory  tliat  the  Maseouten  were  a  branch  of  the 
Fox  tribe. 


Among  the  great  tribes  of  the  Algonquian  family,  the  Miami  (called  Twight- 
wees  by  the  early  English  settlers)  occupied  a  large  territoiy  in  Southern 
Michigan,  Western  Ohio  and  Central  Indiana.  Some  idea  of  the  extent  of  the 
tribal  claims  may  be  gained  from  the  following  extract  from  the  speech  of 
their  great  chief,  Little  Turtle,  at  the  council  of  Greenville,  Ohio,  in  August, 
1795:  "My  fathere  kindled  the  first  fire  at  Detroit;  thence  they  extended  their 
lines  to  the  headwatei*s  of  the  Scioto ;  thence  to  its  mouth ;  thence  down  the 
Ohio  to  the  mouth  of  the  Wabash;  thence  to  Chicago  and  over  Lake  Michigan." 

The  Miami  was  one  of  the  first  tribes  to  establish  friendly  relations  with 
the  French  under  Cadillac.  As  early  as  1703  there  was  a  considerable  Miami 
colony  at  Detroit,  but  their  principal  settlement  at  that  time  was  on  the  shore 
of  Lake  Michigan,  near  the  present  City  of  St.  Joseph.  Later  the  tribal  head- 
quarters were  established  at  the  head  of  the  Maumee  River,  wliere  the  City  of 
Fort  Wayne,  Indiana,  now  stands. 

Agriculture  was  practiced  in  a  primitive  way,  the  women,  as  in  other  tribes 
doing  the  work  of  the  field  and  wigwam,  while  the  men  engaged  in  hunting 
or  "went  on  the  war  path."  They  were  less  treacherous  than  many  of  the 
tribes  and  appear  to  have  had  a  higher  sense  of  honor.  When  the  peace  treaty 
of  Greenville  was  concluded  on  August  3,  1795,  some  of  the  Miami  chiefs  were 
opposed  to  certain  provisions,  but  finally  yielded  to  the  majority.  As  Little 
Turtle  "touched  the  goose  quill"  he  said:  "I  am  the  last  to  sign  it  and  I  will 
be  the  last  to  break  it. ' '  He  kept  his  word  and  remained  on  terms  of  peace  with 
the  white  people  until  his  death  at  Fort  Wayne,  Indiana,  on  July  14,  1812. 


The  name  Ottawa  was  a  term  common  to  a  number  of  Algonquian  tribes, 
notably  the  Cree,  Chippewa,  Nipissing  and  Ottawa  proper.  The  first  mention 
of  these  Indians  in  history  was  in  1615,  when  Champlain  met  about  300  of 
them  and  gave  them  the  name  of  "les  cheueux  releuez. "  In  his  description  of 
them  he  says: 

' '  Their  arms  consisted  only  of  a  bow  and  arrows,  a  buckler  of  boiled  leather 
and  the  club.  They  wore  no  breech  clouts,  their  bodies  were  tattooed  in  many 
fashions  and  designs,  their  faces  i5ainted  and  their  noses  pierced." 

From  their  pierced  noses  an  ornament  consisting  of  a  small  pebble  or  shell 
was  suspended,  which  doubtless  led  some  of  the  early  writers  to  conclude  that 
the  term  Ottawa  signified  "the  nation  with  a  hole  in  the  nose."  This  theory 
is  not  sustained  by  the  LTnited  States  Bureau  of  Ethnology,  the  "Handbook" 
of  which  says  the  name  was  applied  to  the  Ottawa  "because  in  early  traditional 
times  and  also  during  the  historic  period  they  were  noted  among  their  neigh- 
bors as  intertribal  traders  and  barterers,  dealing  chiefly  in  coi"n  meal,  sun- 
flower oil,  furs  and  skins,  rugs  and  mats,  tobacco,  and  medicinal  roots  and 
herbs. ' ' 


The  Jesuit  Relation  for  1667  says  that  thej'  claimed  the  country  along  the 
Ottawa  River  and  that  no  other  nation  was  permitted  to  navigate  that  stream 
without  their  consent.  About  the  same  time  Claude  Allouez,  the  Jesuit  mis- 
sionary, wrote:  "They  are  little  disposed  toward  the  faith,  for  they  are  too 
much  given  to  idolatry,  superstitious,  fables,  polygamy,  looseness  of  the  mar- 
riage tie  and  to  all  manner  of  license,  which  causes  them  to  drop  all  native 
decency. ' ' 

Until  about  1670  the  Ottawa  and  Huron  lived  together.  Then  the  latter 
removed  to  the  west  side  of  Lake  Huron,  part  of  the  tribe  locating  near  the 
present  City  of  Detroit  and  others  going  to  Jlichilimackinac  to  escape  from 
their  old  enemy,  the  Iroquois.  A  little  later  it  seems  that  a  portion  of  the 
Ottawa  also  gained  a  foothold  on  the  west  side  of  Lake  Huron,  in  the  vicinity 
of  Saginaw  Bay,  where  the  Pottawatomi  were  probably  in  close  union  with 
them.  In  1703  Cadillac  invited  them  to  settle  near  Detroit  and  they  established 
a  village  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  river,  where  Sandwich  now  stands.  There 
they  built  a  picket  fort,  similar  to  that  of  the  Huron  stockade. 

For  more  than  half  a  eentuiy  the  Ottawa  were  the  steadfast  friends  of  the 
French  and  on  numerous  occasions  assisted  them  in  repelling  the  attacks  of 
hostile  tribes.  After  Detroit  was  surrendered  to  the  British  in  1760,  the  tribe 
became  dissatisfied  mth  the  new  power.  The  celebrated  chief,  Pontiac,  was  a 
meiuber  of  this  tribe,  and  Pontiac 's  war  of  1763,  an  account  of  which  is  given 
in  another  chapter,  was  a  prominent  event  in  Ottawa  history. 

The  Ottawa  were  good  farmers  and  experts  in  handling  their  canoes.  At 
the  close  of  the  Revolutionary  war  a  small  portion  of  the  tribe  refused  to  submit 
to  the  authority  of  the  United  States  and  removed  to  Canada.  Subsequently 
they,  with  some  of  the  Chippewa  and  Pottawatomi  Indians,  were  settled  on 
Walpole  Island  in  Lake  St.  Clair.  All  the  lands  in  Michigan  claimed  by  the 
Ottawa  were  ceded  to  the  United  States  by  various  treaties,  ending  with  the 
Chicago  treaty  of  September  26,  1833,  when  they  accepted  a  reservation  near 
Port  Leavenworth,  Kansas. 


When  first  met  by  the  white  men,  this  tribe  was  one  of  the  greatest  of  the 
Algonquin  group.  The  name  Pottawatomi  signifies  "the  people  of  the  place 
of  fire,"  or  "nation  of  fire."  The  first  authentic  account  of  these  Indians  is 
that  given  by  Jean  Nicollet,  who  found  them  in  1634  living  with  the  Winnebago 
and  some  other  tribes  about  the  Green  Bay.  Thirty  years  later  the  main  body 
of  the  tribe  inhabited  the  islands  about  the  mouth  of  the  Green  Bay.  The  Jesuit 
Relation  for  1671  says:  Four  nations  make  their  abode  here,  namely:  "Those 
who  bear  the  name  of  Puaus  (Winnebago),  who  have  always  lived  here  as  in 
their  own  country,  and  who  have  been  reduced  to  almost  nothing  from  being 
a  very  flourishing  and  populous  people,  having  been  exterminated  by  their 
enemies,  the  Ulini;  the  Pottawatomi,  the  Sauk  and  the  Nation  of  the  Fork  also 
live  here,  but  as  strangers  or  foreigners,  driven  by  the  fear  of  the  Iroquois  from 
their  own  lands  which  are  between  the  lake  of  the  Hurons  and  the  country  of 
the  mini." 

This  would  indicate  that  the  original  habitat  of  the  Pottawatomi  was  some- 
whei'e  about  the  foot  of  Lake  Huron.  When  the  Relation  of  1671  was  written, 
the  tribe  was  moving  toward  the  south  and  east.  Soon  after  Cadillac  founded 
Detroit   a   Pottawatomi   village   was   established   near   the   mouth    of   the   little 


stream  afterward  known  as  Knagg's  Creek  and  witliin  a  short  distance  of  the 
fort.    An  old  French  colonial  memoir  of  1707  says: 

"The  village  of  the  Pottowatamies  adjoins  the  fort.  The  women  do  all  the 
work.  The  men  belonging  to  that  nation  are  well  clothed,  like  onr  domiciliated 
Indians  at  Montreal ;  their  entire  occupation  is  hunting  and  dress ;  they  make 
use  of  a  great  deal  of  vermilion,  and  in  winter  wear  buffalo  robes  richly  painted 
and  in  summer  either  blue  or  red  cloth.  They  play  a  good  deal  at  la  crosse 
in  summer,  twenty  or  more  on  each  side.  Their  bat  is  a  sort  of  little  racket 
and  the  ball  with  which  they  play  is  made  of  very  heavy  wood,  somewhat  larger 
than  the  balls  used  at  tennis;  when  playing  they  are  entirely  naked,  except  a 
breech  cloth  and  moccasins  on  their  feet.  Their  bodies  are  completely  painted 
with  all  sorts  of  colors.  Some,  with  white  clay,  trace  white  lace  on  their  bodies, 
as  if  on  all  the  seams  of  a  coat,  and  at  a  distance  it  would  be  apt  to  be  taken 
for  silver  lace.  They  play  very  deep  and  often.  The  bets  sometimes  amount 
to  more  than  eight  hundred  li\Tes.  They  set  up  two  poles  and  commence  the 
game  from  the  center;  one  party  propels  the  ball  from  one  side  and  the  other 
from  the  opposite,  and  whichever  reaches  the  goal  wins.  This  is  fine  recreation 
and  worth  seeing.  *  *  *  The  women  cultivate  Indian  corn,  beans,  peas, 
squashes  and  melons,  which  come  up  very  fine." 

The  Pottawatomi  were  the  loyal  friends  of  the  French,  but  after  the  French 
and  Indian  war  they  joined  Pontiac  in  his  conspiracy  for  the  destruction  of 
the  English  posts.  Their  burial  place  at  Detroit  was  on  the  tract  later  known 
as  the  Brevoort  farm.  In  1771  they  granted  part  of  their  lands  near  Detroit 
to  Isadore  Chene  and  Robert  Navarre,  on  condition  that  the  two  white  men 
would  keep  in  order  the  resting  places  of  their  dead. 

In  the  Revolutionaiy  war  they  fought  on  the  side  of  the  British,  with  whom 
they  had  made  friends,  and  at  the  council  of  Greenville  in  1795  they  notified 
the  Miami  that  they  intended  to  move  down  upon  the  Wabash  River,  which 
they  did  soon  aftei-ward,  in  spite  of  the  protests  of  the  Miami,  who  claimed 
practically  the  whole  Wabash  Valley.  At  the  beginning  of  the  Nineteenth 
Century  the  Pottawatomi  were  in  possession  of  the  country  around  the  head 
of  Lake  Michigan  from  the  Milwaukee  River  to  the  Grand  River  in  Michigan, 
extending  eastward  across  the  Lower  Peninsula,  southwest  over  a  large  part 
of  Northern  Illinois,  and  soiithward  to  the  Wabash  River.  Within  this  teri-itory 
they  had  about  fifty  populous  villages. 

In  the  War  of  1812  they  again  took  the  side  of  the  British,  which  was  their 
undoing.  Between  the  years  1836  and  1841  they  ceded  their  lands  in  Indiana, 
Illinois  and  Michigan  to  the  LTnited  States  and  in  1846  removed  to  a  reservation 
in  what  is  now  the  State  of  Kansas. 

Morgan  divides  the  Pottawatomi  into  fifteen  clans  or  gentes,  the  most  im- 
portant of  which  were  the  wolf,  bear,  beaver,  fox  and  thunder.  Early  writers 
describe  them  as  "docile  and  affectionate"  in  their  relations  with  the  white 
people.  Polygamy  was  common  among  them  when  the  first  missionaries  Ausited 
the  tribe.  In  their  mythology  they  had  two  spirits — Kitchemonedo,  the  Great 
Spirit,  and  Matchemonedo,  the  Evil  Spirit — and  they  were  sun  worshipers  to 
some  extent.  Their  principal  annual  festival  was  the  "Feast  of  Dreams,"  at 
which  dog  meat  was  served  as  the  leading  dish. 


Although  these  two  tribes  are  nearly  always  spoken  of  as  one,  they  were 
originally  separate  and  distinct  organizations,  both  belonging  to  the  Algonquian 


family.     After  many  migrations  and  vicissitudes  they  united  and  became  one 
of  the  powerful  Indian  nations  of  the  Mississippi  Valley. 

The  Sac  (Indian  name  Sauk  or  Osa-ki-wug  ) signifies  "people  of  the  outlet." 
Their  earliest  kno\vii  habitat  was  on  the  western  shore  of  Lake  Huron,  where 
they  were  found  by  missionaries  in  1616  associated  with  other  tribes.  They 
are  first  mentioned  as  an  independent  tribe  in  the  Jesuit  Relation  of  1640.  In 
1667  Father  Claude  Allouez  found  them  a  populous  tribe  with  no  fixed  dwelling 
place  and  describes  them  as  "more  savage  than  all  the  other  tribes  I  have  met. 
*  *  *  If  they  find  a  person  in  an  isolated  place  they  will  kill  him,  espe- 
cially if  he  be  a  Frenchman,  for  they  cannot  endure  the  sight  of  the  whiskei-s 
of  the  European." 

The  tribe  was  divided  into  thirteen  gentes,  viz :  Bass,  bear,  eagle,  elk,  fox, 
great  lynx,  grouse,  sea,  stiu'geon,  swan,  thunder,  trout  and  wolf.  From  the 
country  about  Saginaw  Bay  they  retreated  toward  the  northwest,  by  way  of 
Mackinaw,  and  thence  southwest  to  Gi*een  Bay,  and  in  1721  their  principal 
village  was  near  the  mouth  of  the  Fox  River  in  Wisconsin. 

Concerning  the  Pox  nation,  Dr.  William  Jones  of  the  United  States  Bureau 
of  Ethnology,  says  that  a  hunting  party  of  these  Indians  was  met  by  some 
French,  who  asked  to  what  tribe  they  belonged  and  was  told  the  Mesh-kwa-ki-hug. 
The  name  being  difficult  of  pronunciation,  the  French  gave  them  the  name  of 
Renard,  or  Fox.  The  Indian  name,  Mesh-kwa-ki-hug,  means  "people  of  the 
red  earth."  It  was  often  shortened  into  Musciuakie.  The  Chippewa  called 
them  Utagamig,  which  the  white  people  corrupted  into  Outagamie.  The  Chip- 
pewa name  means  "people  of  the  other  shore,"  and  from  this  fact  Warren,  in 
his  "History  of  the  Ojibwa  Indians,"  draws  the  conclusion  that  the  earliest 
known  habitat  of  the  Pox  was  on  the  southern  shore  of  Lake  Superior  until 
driven  out  by  the  Chippewa. 

There  is  a  striking  similarity  in  the  social  organization  of  the  Sac  and  Fox 
nations,  in  that  each  had  thirteen  gentes,  the  names  of  which  were  almost 
■  identical.  The  Pox  clans  were  the  bass,  bear,  big  lynx,  buffalo,  eagle,  elk,  fox, 
pheasant,  sea,  sturgeon,  .swan,  thunder  and  potato.  The  celebrated  chief  Black 
Hawk  was  a  member  of  the  thunder  clan  of  the  Sac  tribe,  but  was  recognized 
as  chief  by  the  Fox  after  the  two  had  formed  their  confederacy. 

Incited  by  the  English,  the  Fox  Indians  became  the  enemies  of  the  French 
and  made  several  attacks  upon  the  French  po.sts.  In  1733,  after  one  of  their 
forays,  Sieur  de  Villiers  was  sent  against  them  with  an  anned  force  from 
Canada.  They  sought  refuge  in  the  Sac  village  on  the  Fox  River.  De  Villiers 
demanded  the  sui-render  of  the  fugitives,  but  it  was  refused  and  in  the  fight 
that  ensued  the  Indians  lost  twenty-nine  and  the  French  fifteen,  De  Villiers 
being  one  of  the  killed.  The  Ottawa  and  Chippewa,  allies  of  the  French,  lost 
respectively  nine  and  six  of  their  warriors.  Marquis  de  Beauharnois,  then 
governor  of  Canada,  sent  more  troops  into  the  Indian  country.  It  was  at  this 
time  that  the  Sac  and  Fox  confederacy  was  formed,  the  allied  tribes  retreating 
southward  to  the  Rock  River  Valley  in  Illinois. 

The  mythology  of  both  the  Sac  and  Pox  was  full  of  supei-stition  and  fable, 
which,  like  the  similarity  of  their  social  organization,  indicates  that  they  were 
of  the  same  stock.  Both  had  many .  festivals  and  after  the  confederacy  was 
formed  both  pai'ticipated  in  the  rites  of  the  secret  Grand  Medicine  Society 
known  as  the  Mi-de-wi-win.  Also  both  tribes  are  described  as  "stingy,  warlike, 
thieving  and  quarrelsome." 



The  first  mention  of  the  Winnebago  Indians  in  the  white  man's  history  was 
that  made  by  Jean  Nicollet,  who  found  them  in  1634  living  along  the  shores  of 
the  Green  Bay,  where  they  were  associated  with  other  tribes.  A  Winnebago 
tradition  says  they  were  once  a  powerful  nation,  living  along  the  shores  of 
Lake  Superior  until  they  were  driven  out  by  the  Chippewa.  They  really 
belonged  to  the  Siouan  group,  but  by  long  association  with  Algonquian  tribes 
they  acquired  the  speech  and  habits  of  that  family. 

In  their  social  organization  the  Winnebago  had  two  phratries  called  the 
Air  Phratrj'  and  the  Earth  Phratry.  In  the  former  were  four  elans — eagle, 
pigeon,  thunderbird  and  war  people — and  in  the  latter  there  were  eight  clans — 
bear,  buffalo,  deer,  elk,  fish,  snake,  water- spirit  and  wolf.  The  bear  and  thunder- 
bird  were  the  leading  clans,  from  which  came  most  of  their  great  chiefs.  In 
mari-ying  a  man  always  chose  a  wife  from  some  other  clan  than  his  own. 

After  the  French  and  Indian  war  they  were  slow  to  transfer  their  allegiance 
to  the  English.  During  the  Revolutionary  war  they  took  no  important  part, 
but  in  the  War  of  1812  they  fought  against  the  United  States  with  the  tribes 
that  gathered  about  Detroit.  At  that  time  the  tribe  lived  on  the  Rock  River, 
in  Illinois,  a  few  miles  above  the  Sac  Village.  A  few  years  after  the  Black 
Hawk  war  they  were  removed  to  a  reser\'ation  in  Iowa. 


In  addition  to  the  tribes  above  mentioned  there  were  several  which  were 
less  intimately  connected  with  the  history  of  Detroit.  One  of  these  was  the 
Menominee  tribe,  which  Jean  Nicollet  found  living  with  the  Winnebago  on  the 
Green  Bay  in  1634.  The  French  called  these  Indians  FoUes  Avoines,  from  "wild 
rice,"  which  was  one  of  their  chief  articles  of  food.  They  were  friendly  to 
the  French  and  assisted  Du  Buisson,  the  commandant  at  Detroit,  to  repel  the 
attack  of  the  Fox  and  Kickapoo  Indians  on  the  fort  in  May,  1712.  In  August, 
1831,  about  twenty  of  them  were  killed  by  a  Sac  and  Fox  band  near  the  present 
City  of  Prairie  du  Chien,  Wisconsin,  the  assa.ssins  joining  Black  Hawk  im- 
mediately afterward  and  taking  part  in  the  Black  Hawk  war  the  following  year. 

The  Illinois — or  Illini,  as  they  were  at  first  known — was,  according  to  their 
traditions,  once  a  powerful  nation,  consisting  of  five  subordinate  tribes,  viz. : 
The  Kaskaskia,  Peoria,  Tamaroa,  Cahokia  and  Michigani.  They  also  assisted 
the  French  to  defeat  the  assaults  on  Fort  Pontchartrain  in  the  spring  of  1712. 
Pontiac,  who  led  the  uprising  against  the  English  posts  in  1763,  was  killed  by 
a  Kaskaskia  Indian  in  1769,  whereupon  the  Sac  and  Fox,  allies  of  Pontiac, 
declared  war  upon  the  Illini  and  in  time  almost  exterminated  tlie  tribes  com- 
posing the  confederacy. 

The  main  dwelling  place  of  the  Kickapoo  Indians  was  along  the  lower  Wabash 
River,  in  southern  Indiana  and  Illinois,  though  they  frequently  wandered  into 
the  Great  Lakes  countiy.  Part  of  the  tribe  participated  in  the  attack  on  the 
French  fort  at  Detroit  in  May,  1712.  As  Capt.  George  Croghan  and  his  escort 
were  on  the  way  to  the  English  posts  on  the  Mississippi  River  early  in  the  year 
1765,  he  was  captured  near  the  mouth  of  the  Wabash  by  a  Kickapoo  band  that 
had  been  active  in  supporting  Pontiac,  but  was  soon  afterward  released. 

All  these  tribes  were  of  Algonquian  stock,  as  were  the  Osage  and  a  few 
others  that  figured  to  a  slight  extent  in  Detroit  history.     Thev  are  here  classed 


as  "minor  tribes"  merely  because  of  the  insignifieant  part  they  played  in  kjcal 
events.  Logan,  the  Cayuga  (or  Mingo)  chief  was  an  occasional  visitor  at 
Detroit.  Tecumseh  (the  Shooting  Star)  and  his  bi-other  Tenskwatawa  (the 
Prophet),  two  of  the  greatest  members  of  the  Shawnee  nation,  frequently  visited 
the  post  while  the  English  were  in  control,  and  the  former  was  an  active  sup- 
porter of  the  British  in  the  War  of  1812  until  killed  at  the  battle  of  the  Thames. 








In  giving  an  account  of  the  early  explorers,  who  may  or  may  not  have 
visited  the  site  of  the  City  of  Detroit,  the  writer  has  ventured  to  "wander  far 
afield"  and  include  explorations  that  may  appear  to  have  no  direct  bearing 
upon  the  city's  history.  Yet  the  work  of  each  of  the  explorers  mentioned  in 
this  chapter  had  its  influence  in  cfeveloping  the  countrj^  about  the  Great  Lakes, 
and  incidentally  contributed  to  the  founding  of  Detroit. 


In  all  probability  the  first  white  men  to  set  foot  upon  the  soil  of  Michigan 
were"  the  coureurs  de  bois,  or  Canadian  woodsmen.  When  the  continent  of 
North  America  was  fii'st  explored  by  Europeans,  it  was  found  that  the  country 
lying  above  36°  north  latitude  was  the  richest  and  most  extensive  field  in  the 
world  for  the  collection  of  fine  furs.  The  Indians  used  the  skins  of  some  of 
the  fur-bearing  animals  for  clothing,  or  in  the  construction  of  their  wigwams, 
not  knowing  that  such  skins  were  of  almost  fabulous  value  in  the  European 
capitals.  The  coming  of  the  white  man  brought  to  the  savage  wants  hitherto 
unknown — wants  which  he  could  more  easily  satisfy  by  exchanging  furs  for 
the  white  man's  goods  than  in  any  other  way. 

The  French  were  the  pioneei-s  in  the  fur  trade.  Before  the  dawn  of  the 
seventeenth  century  they  were  trading  with  the  Indians  in  the  valley  of  the 
St.  Lawrence  River,  and  after  Montreal  was  foiuided  that  city  became  the 
principal  market  for  their  peltries.  The  fur  trade  gave  rise  to  that  hardy, 
adventurous  class  of  men  known  as  coureurs  de  bois,  who,  afraid  of  nothing, 
wandered  into  the  trackless  forests  in  quest  of  fui's.  Prom  the  St.  Lawrence 
country  they  worked  their  way  westward,  establishing  friendly  relations  with 
the  Indian  tribes  they  met  around  the  Great  Lakes,  then  crossed  the  low  portages 
to  the  Mississippi  Valley,  and  from  there  by  way  of  the  Missouri  River  finally 
reached  the  Rocky  Mountains. 

The  covireur  de  bois  kept  no  journal  of  his  travels.  He  had  no  time  for 
such  things,  his  energies  all  being  directed  to  the  acquisition  of  valuable  peltries 
and  opening  up  a  trade  with  new  tribes.  They  had  no  difSculty,  as  a  rule,  in 
maintaining  good  tenns  with  the  natives  and  many  of  them  married  Indian  wives. 
It  is  quite  probable  that,  in  their  migrations,  their  canoes  passed  through  "the 



strait,"  as  the  Detroit  River  was  at  first  known,  and  it  is  possible  tliat  some  of 
them  may  liave  landed  on  the  site  of  the  City  of  Detroit. 


One  of  the  earliest  known  explorers  in  the  region  about  the  Great  Lakes, 
of  whose  work  an  authentic  record  has  been  preserved,  was  Samuel  Champlain, 
who  was  born  at  St.  Malo,  France,  in  1582.  He  was  educated  for  the  priesthood, 
but  his  love  of  adventure  outweighed  his  love  for  the  "black  gown"  and  he 
joined  the  French  navy,  where  he  developed  into  an  expert  navigator.  About 
the  time  he  attained  to  his  majority  he  became  interested  in  the  explorations 
then  going  on  in  America.  In  1607,  when  only  twenty-five  years  of  age,  he  was 
commissioned  by  the  French  King  to  fit  out  an  expedition  and  establish  a  settle- 
ment somewhere  in  the  countrj'  discovered  by  Jacques  Cartier.  On  July  3, 
1608,  he  selected  the  site  of  Quebec  and  tJiere  founded  the  third  permanent 
settlement  in  North  America.  Three  yeare  later  he  laid  the  foundations  of 
Montreal  and  in  the  same  year  discovered  the  lake  that  bears  his  name  in  North- 
eastern New  York. 

Some  writers  claim  that  Champlain  visited  the  vicinity  of  Detroit  in  1610. 
In  the  French  Colonial  Records  it  is  stated  that  he  passed  through  the  strait 
in  1611  or  1612.  Marquis  de  Denonville,  who  was  governor  of  New  France 
from  1685  to  1689,  writing  some  years  later  of  Champlain 's  explorations,  says: 
"In  the  years  1611  and  1612  he  ascended  the  Grand  River  as  far  as  Lake  Huron, 
called  the  fresh  sea.  He  passed  by  places  he  has  himself  described  in  his  book, 
which  are  no  other  than  Detroit  and  Lake  Erie." 

Even  in  the  face  of  this  positive  statement,  it  is  by  no  means  certain  that 
Champlain  ever  visited  the  site  of  Deti-oit.  In  his  own  narrative  of  his  travels 
and  explorations,  he  says  that  some  Indians  described  the  strait  to  him  in  1603, 
but  nowhere  in  his  writings  does  he  assert  that  he  passed  through  the  Detroit 
River,  or  any  stream  answering  its  description. 

From  1612  to  1619  and  again  from  1633  to  1635  he  was  governor  of  New 
France.  During  the  former  period  he  was  engaged  in  exploring  Canada  and 
Prince  de  Conde  discharged  the  duties  of  governor.  His  description  of  the 
country  was  influential  in  building  up  the  French  settlements  and,  whether  he 
visited  Detroit  or  not,  his  work  facilitated  the  establishment  of  French  posts  in 
the  Northwest. 


The  Seventeenth  Century  was  still  in  its  infancy  when  Jesuit  missionaries 
from  the  French  settlements  at  Quebec  and  Montreal  were  among  the  Indian 
tribes  living  upon  the  shores  of  Lake  Michigan  and  Lake  Superior,  instructing 
them  in  the  ways  of  civilization  and  endeavoring  to  convert  them  t<i  the  Catliolic 
faith.  These  early  priests  traveled  mainly  by  water  and  there  is  no  doubt 
that  some  of  their  canoes  passed  up  the  Detroit  River.  Carlisle,  in  iiis  compila- 
tion of  the  records  of  tlie  Wayne  County  Historical  and  Pioneer  Society,  says 
Jesuit  missionaries  visited  an  Ottawa  village  on  Parent  Creek,  now  witliin  the 
city  limits  of  Detroit,  in  1610. 

Wherevei-  these  priests  went  they  established  amicable  relations  with  the 
native  tribes,  and  tliough  the  spiritual  welfare  of  the  Indian  was  their  first 
consideratidn,  tliey  ojjened  the  way  for  tiie  fur  traders.  It  was  not  until  toward 
the  middle  of  the  century,  liowever.  that  their  labors  began  to  bear  fruit. 


Among  the  Jesuit  missionaries  who  were  active  about  this  time  was  Father 
Claudius  (or  Claude)  Dablon.  He  was  a  native  of  France  and  came  to  America 
in  1655,  soon  after  taking  his  priestly  ordere.  For  three  years  he  was  stationed 
at  the  Onondaga  mission,  in  the  Iroquois  countrj-,  after  which  he  was  among  the 
Indians  of  New  England  for  about  ten  years.  In  1668  he  was  sent  to  the  Great 
Lakes  countiy  and  assisted  in  founding  the  mission  of  Sault  Ste.  Marie,  the 
oldest  white  settlement  within  the  present  State  of  Michigan.  For  a  number  of 
years  he  was  the  superior  of  all  the  missions  of  the  Northwest.  While  serving 
as  superior  he  compiled  the  Jesuit  Relations  from  1672  to  1679,  though  they  were 
not  published  until  many  years  afterward. 

One  of  the  fii-st  great  councils  ever  held  with  the  Indians  of  the  upper  lakes 
was  arranged  by  Father  Claude  Allouez  at  the  Chippewa  Village,  on  the 
southern  shore  of  Lake  Superior,  in  the  fall  of  1665.  At  this  council  half  a 
dozen  or  more  of  the  leading  Indian  nations  of  the  Northwest  and  the  Illinois 
country  were  represented  by  their  chiefs.  Allouez  and  his  associates  promised 
them  the  friendship  and  protection  of  the  French  and  made  inquiries  regarding 
the  country  in  which  they  lived.  In  the  report  of  Allouez,  concerning  what 
was  accomplished  at  the  council,  he  says  the  Sioux  and  lUini  chiefs  told  him 
of  a  great  river  "farther  to  the  westward,  called  by  them  the  Me-sa-sip-pi, 
which  they  said  no  white  man  had  yet  seen,  and  along  which  fur-bearing  animals 

Thirty  years  before  the  Allouez  council,  vague  rumoi-s  of  the  great  river 
had  reached  the  Canadian  authorities  through  the  reports  of  Jean  Nicollet,  but 
little  attention  was  paid  to  them.  With  the  report  of  Allouez,  and  other  in- 
formation he  imparted,  came  a  desire  to  kno\y  more  of  the  river  and  the  rich 
fur  country  described  by  the  Indians.  A  delay  of  several  years  occurred, 
however,  before  any  systematic  effort  was  made  to  discover  it. 


Jacques  Marquette,  one  of  the  most  active  and  intelligent  of  the  Jesuit 
fathers,  was  born  at  Laon,  France,  in  1637.  At  an  eai'ly  age  he  joined  the 
Jesuit  Society  and  in  1666  was  sent  to  Canada  as  a  missionary.  For  about 
eighteen  months  after  his  arrival  in  America,  he  was  stationed  at  the  Three 
Rivers  mission  on  the  St.  Lawrence.  He  was  then  transferred  to  the  Lake 
Superior  field  and  in  1668  he  assisted  Father  Dablon  in  establishing  the  mission 
of  Sault  Ste  Marie,  "at  the  foot  of  the  rapids."  He  remained  in  charge  of 
this  mission  for  about  a  year,  when  he  was  sent  to  the  mission  known  as  Point  e 
du  Esprit.  With  the  Huron  poi'tion  of  his  flock,  he  left  Pointe  du  Esprit  in 
1671  and  founded  the  mission  of  Point  St.  Ignace. 

In  September,  1673,  after  his  discoveiy  of  the  Mississippi,  he  was  ordered  to 
the  mission  of  St.  Francis  Xavier  at  the  head  of  the  Green  Bay,  where  he 
remained  luitil  October,  1674.  He  was  then  sent  to  the  Illinois  country.  Leav- 
ing St.  Francis  Xavier  on  October  25,  1674,  he  passed  down  the  west  shore 
of  Lake  Michigan  until  he  reached  the  mouth  of  the  Chicago  River,  thence  up 
that  stream  to  the  portage,  and  down  the  Illinois  River  to  Kaskaskia,  reaching 
that  settlement  on  April  8,  1675.  There  he  founded  the  imssion  of  the  Immacu- 
late Conception,  when  failing  health  caused  him  to  set  out  on  the  return  to 
St.  Ignace.  From  the  mouth  of  the  Chicago  River  he  crossed  over  to  the  east 
shore  of  Lake  Michigan.  Fpon  reaching  the  mouth  of  the  Marquette  River, 
where  the  Citv  of  Ludington,  ^Michiaan.  is  now  located,  he  landed  and  died  there 


on  May  18,  1675.  His  companions  buried  his  body  upon  a  little  knoll  and 
erected  a  cross  to  mark  the  spot,  though  his  remains  were  afterward  removed 
to  St.  Ignace. 

Louis  Joliet  was  born  at  Quebec  on  September  21,  1645,  and  was  educated 
in  the  Jesuit  College  in  his  native  city.  He  took  minor  orders,  but  in  1667 
he  gave  up  the  idea  of  the  priesthood  to  engage  in  the  fur  trade.  After  a  visit 
to  France,  he  was  sent  by  M.  Talon,  the  intendant  at  Quebec,  to  find  the  copper 
mines  on  the  shore  of  Lake  Superior.  Early  in  1669,  accompanied  by  Jean  Pere, 
he  set  out  on  his  voyage  and  it  is  asserted  by  some  writers  that  he  was  the  first 
white  man  to  pass  through  the  Detroit  River. 

Joliet  was  at  the  Sault  Ste  Marie  in  June,  1671,  when  St.  Lusson  took 
possession  of  the  region  for  France,  and  upon  his  return  to  Quebec  he  was 
assigned  to  accompany  Father  Marquette  on  an  expedition  "to  find  and  ascer- 
tain the  direction  of  the  course  of  the  ^Mississippi  River  and  its  mouth."  Joliet 
died  in  Canada  in  May,  1700. 

perrot's  council 

The  accounts  of  the  region  about  Lake  ilichigan  and  Lake  Superior  carried 
back  to  Quebec  by  Allouez  and  other  missionaries,  led  the  Canadian  authorities 
to  send  Nicolas  Perrot  as  the  accredited  agent  of  the  French  Government  to 
arrange  for  a  grand  council  with  the  Indians  and  negotiate  a  treaty  of  peace. 
The  council  assembled  at  the  mission  of  St.  Marie  late  in  May,  1671,  and  con- 
tinued in  session  for  about  two  weeks.  According  to  the  Jesuit  Relations  for 
that  year,  the  tribes  represented  were  the  Chippewa,  Cree,  Fox,  Sac,  Illini, 
Menominee,  Pottawatomi  and  some  of  the  Sioux.  The  account  of  the  council 

"Having  caused  a  cross  to  be  erected,  to  produce  there  the  fruits  of  Christi- 
anity, and  near  it  a  cedar  pole,  to  which  we  have  attached  the  arms  of  France, 
saying  three  times  with  a  loud  voice  and  public  proclamation,  that  in  the 

LOUIS    SIV    OF    NAME,    MOST    CHRISTIAN    KING    OF    FRANCE    AND    NAVARRE,    we    take 

possession  of  said  place,  Sainte  Marie  du  Sault,  as  also  of  the  Lakes  Huron  and 
Superior,"  etc. 

This  proclamation  was  signed  by  Daumont  de  St.  Lusson  and  a  number  of 
witnesses,  and  was  dated  June  14,  1671.  (Some  writers  give  the  date  as  June  4, 
1671.)  By  this  act  of  De  Lusson  the  territory  bordering  on  Lake  Huron  became 
officially  French  domain. 


Among  those  who  were  filled  with  the  desire  to  discover  the  Mississippi 
River,  after  the  council  held  at  the  Chippewa  Village  in  the  fall  of  1665,  was 
Father  Marquette.  He  was  deterred  from  making  the  attempt  until  after 
Perrot's  council,  which  assured  the  friendship  of  the  Indian  tribes  living  along 
the  upper  portion  of  the  river.  In  the  spring  of  1673,  having  received  the 
necessary  authority  from  the  Canadian  officials,  he  began  his  preparations  at 
Michilimaekinac  for  the  voyage. 

Early  in  May  he  was  joined  by  Louis  Joliet,  who  had  been  selected  by 
M.  Talon  on  account  of  his  knowledge  of  topography  to  accompany  Marquette 
and  prepare  a  map  of  the  river.  It  is  said  that  the  friendly  Indians,  who  were 
loath  to  lose  Father  Marquette,  tried  to   dissuade  him  from  the  midertaking 


by  telling  him  the  Indians  living  along  the  river  were  cruel  and  treacherous, 
and  that  the  river  itself  was  the  abode  of  terrible  monsters  ■which  could  swallow 
both  canoes  and  men.  These  stories  had  no  effect  upon  the  intrepid  priest,  un- 
less to  make  him  more  determined,  and  on  Maj'  13,  1673,  he  and  Joliet,  accom- 
panied by  five  voyageurs,  with  two  large  canoes,  left  Michilimaekinac. 

Passing  up  the  Green  Bay  to  the  mouth  of  the  Fox  River,  the  little  expedi- 
tion ascended  that  stream  to  the  portage,  crossed  over  to  the  Wisconsin  River, 
down  which  they  floated  until  June  17,  1673,  when  their  canoes  drifted  out 
upon  the  broad  bosom  of  the  ilississippi.  Turning  their  course  down  stream 
they  descended  the  great  "Father  of  Waters,"  carefully  noting  the  landmarks 
as  they  passed  along.  When  they  reached  the  mouth  of  the  Arkansas  River, 
they  found  an  Indian  tribe  whose  langiiage  they  could  not  understand  and 
decided  to  go  no  farther,  deferring  the  discovery  of  the  mouth  of  the  river  for 
a  future  voyage. 

Instead  of  returning  by  way  of  the  Wisconsin  River,  they  ascended  the 
Illinois  to  the  portage,  about  where  the  City  of  Joliet  now  stands,  crossed  over 
to  the  Chicago  River  and  in  due  time  reached  Lake  Michigan,  over  whose  waters 
they  passed  to  Michilimaekinac.  There  Father  Marquette  ended  his  journey, 
but  Joliet  went  on  to  Quebec  to  report  the  results  of  their  voyage.  In  the 
Laehine  Rapids,  above  Montreal,  his  canoe  was  capsized  and  his  notes  and  charts 
were  lost.  Joliet  barely  escaped  with  his  life  and  upon  reaching  Quebec  he 
prepared  a  narrative  from  memory,  which  agreed  in  all  the  essential  particulare 
with  Marquette's  account  of  the  voyage. 

The  discovery  of  the  Mississippi  by  Marquette  and  Joliet  ^vl■ought  important 
changes  in  the  affairs  of  the  Canadian  settlements.  Transportation  in  those 
days  was  chiefly  by  water,  and,  although  the  exact  location  of  the  mouth  of 
the  ]\Iississippi  was  still  undetermined,  it  was  certain  that  the  river  emptied 
into  the  Gulf  of  Mexico.  Enough  was  learned  through  the  voyage  of  Marquette 
and  Joliet  to  make  sure  that  by  easy  portages,  by  way  of  either  the  Illinois  or 
Wisconsin  River,  a  thoroughfare  could  be  opened  between  the  French  settle- 
ments about  the  Great  Lakes  and  those  soon  to  be  established  in  Louisiana.  The 
reports  of  Marquette  and  Joliet  comaneed  the  Canadian  authorities  that  the 
great  river  was  not  a  myth,  and  it  was  not  long  until  steps  were  taken  to  claim 
the  country  drained  by  it  for  Prance. 


In  the  year  following  the  voyage  of  IMarquette  and  Joliet,  Robert  Cavelier, 
Sieur  de  La  Salle,  was  granted  the  seigneury  of  Fort  Frontenac,  where  the 
City  of  Kingston,  Ontario,  is  now  situated,  and  on  May  12,  1678,  he  received 
from  Louis  XIV,  King  of  France,  a  commission  to  continue  the  explorations 
of  Marquette  and  Joliet,  "find  a  port  for  the  king's  ships  in  the  Gulf  of  Mexico, 
discover  the  western  parts  of  New  France,  and  find  a  wsy  to  penetrate  Mexico." 

In  the  fall  of  1678  La  Salle  sent  a  party  of  fifteen  men  up  the  lakes  to  trade 
with  the  Indians  and  soon  afterward  commenced  preparations  for  his  first 
attempt  to  reach  and  descend  the  Mississippi.  At  a  place  called  Black  Rock, 
near  Niagara,  he  began  the  construction  of  a  vessel  of  sixty  tons,  which  was 
launched  in  May,  1679,  and  named  the  "Griffon."  This  was  the  first  sailing 
vessel  on  the  Great  Lakes.  After  a  few  short  trial  trips,  she  started  on  her 
first  real  voyage  early  in  August,  1679.     She  was  equipped  with  five  small 


cannon  and  carried  La  Salle,  Louis  Hennepin,  a  Franciscaji  priest  of  the  Eecollet 
order,  and  thirty  men. 

About  three  weeks  before  the  start  of  the  "Griffon,"  La  Salle  despatched 
his  lieutenant,  Henri  de  Tonty,  with  tive  men,  to  find  the  party  sent  out  the 
preceding  autumn  and  bring  the  men  to  the  lake  at  some  convenient  point  for 
embarkation.  The  little  vessel  made  good  time  and  on  August  10,  1679,  found 
Tonty  and  tlie  others  waiting  on  the  Detroit  River,  at  or  near  the  site  of  the 
City  of  Detroit.  Taking  tliem  on  board  the  "Griffon,"  La  Salle  continued 
his  voyage  and  reached  Washington  Island,  at  the  entrance  of  the  Green  Bay, 
in  the  early  part  of  September. 

Hennepin's  description  of  the  Detroit  was  one  of  the  first  to  be  published. 
He  says:  "The  islands  are  the  finest  in  the  world.  The  strait  is  finer  than 
Niagara,  being  one  league  broad  excepting  that  part  which  forms  the  lake  we 
have  called  Lake  Ste.  Claire.  *  *  *  A  large  village  of  Huron  Indians 
called  Teuchsa  Grondie  occupied  the  bank  of  the  river.  The  ^'illage  had  been 
visited  by  the  Jesuit  missionaries  and  coureurs  de  liois,  but  no  settlement  had 
been  attempted." 

On  September  18,  1679,  the  "Griffon"  left  AYashington  Island  on  her  return 
voyage,  but  two  days  later  encountered  a  severe  stonu  in  the  northern  part,  of 
Lake  Michigan  and  was  lost.  Pieces  of  the  wreck  afterward  drifted  ashore  on 
some  of  the  islands  at  the  north  end  of  the  lake  and  were  identified. 

La  Salle  reached  the  Illinois  River,  "in  the  dead  of  winter,"  when  he 
learned  of  the  loss  of  the  "Griffon"  and  abandoned  the  expedition.  Near  the 
present  City  of  La  Salle,  Illinois,  he  built  a  small  stockade,  which  he  called 
Fort  Creveeoeur  (Broken  Heart),  where  he  left  part  of  his  men  and  with  the 
others  started  for  Canada.  Passing  around  the  head  of  Lake  ^Michigan,  he 
arrived  at  the  site  of  St.  Joseph,  where  he  stiiick  a  due  easterly  course,  crossed 
the  Detroit  River  on  a  raft  and  arrived  at  Niagara  about  May  1,  1680. 

In  the  meantime.  Father  Hennepin,  who  had  been  left  at  Fort  Creveeoeur, 
undertook  a  little  exploring  expedition  of  his  own.  "With  a  few  men  he  left 
the  fort  in  February,  1680,  and  went  down  the  Illinois  to  the  Missis,sippi. 
Instead  of  descending  the  latter  stream,  he  turned  his  canoes  in  the  opposite 
direction.  On  April  11,  1680,  he  and  his  party  were  captured  by  Sioux  Indians 
near  the  mouth  of  the  Wisconsin  River.  The  captives  were  taken  up  the 
Mississippi  to  St.  Anthony's  Falls — so  named  by  Hemiepin  in  honor  fif  his 
patron  saint — where  they  were  rescued  by  Sienr  du  Luth  and  in  November  they 
were  back  in  Quebec. 

After  the  failure  of  his  first  exi)edition,  affairs  at  his  seigneury  claimed 
La  Salle's  attention  for  nearly  three  years.  th(.ngh  he  did  not  relinquish  the 
idea  of  finding  aiul  exploring*  the  great  river.  In  December,  1681.  he  started 
upon  his  second,  and  what  proved  to  lie  his  successful  expedition.  This  time 
he  was  accompanied  by  Henri  de  Tonty;  Jaccjues  de  la  Metarie,  a  notary;  Jean 
Michel,  surgeon  of  tlie  expedition ;  Father  Zenobe  Membre,  a  RecolJet  mission- 
ary; and  a  "nnnibcr  of  Frenchmen  bearing  arms."  It  is  not  necessary  to  follow 
this  little  band  of  explorers  through  all  its  vicissitudes  and  hardships  in  travers- 
ing a  wild,  unexplored  coiiiitry  in  the  worst  season  of  the  year.  Suffice  it  to 
saj'  that  the  river  was  reached  and  descended  to  its  mouth.  On  Api-il  8,  1682, 
La  Salle  and  Tonty  pas,sed  tlirougli  two  of  the  channels  connecting  with  the 
Gulf  of  Mexico.  The  next  day  came  together  again  and  La  Salle  took  fornuil 
possession  of  "all  the  country  drjiined  l>y  the  great   river  and   its  tributaries. 


in   the  name  of  France,   and   conferred   upon   the   territory  thus   claimed   the 
name  of  Louisiana,  in  honor  of  the  French  kin^c. " 

To  the  casual  reader  it  may  seem  that  La  Salle's  work  as  an  explorer  has 
little  or  nothing  to  do  with  the  histoiy  of  Detroit.  But  it  should  be  borne  in 
mind  that  the  discovery  of  the  Mississippi  by  Marquette  and  Joliet  opened 
the  way  for  the  later  voyage  of  La  Salle  and  his  claim  to  all  the  country  drained 
by  the  river,  which  strengthened  the  French  claim  to  the  region  about  the 
Great  Lakes  and  made  easier  the  establishment  of  forts  and  trading  posts,  one 
of  which  was  planted  at  Detroit  by  Cadillac  nineteen  years  later. 


Last  to  be  mentioned,  but  by  no  means  to  be  reckoned  the  least  important 
of  the  early  white  \nsitors  to  the  vicinity  of  Detroit,  were  the  two  Sulpitian 
priests,  Francois  Dollier  de  Casson  and  Abbe  Brehant  de  Galinee.  The  former, 
commonly  called  Dollier,  was  born  about  1620  and  before  entering  the  priest- 
hood he  had  won  distinction  as  a  cavalry  officer  under  Turenne.  Parkman 
describes  him  as  "a  man  of  great  courage,  of  a  tall,  commanding  person  and 
of  uncommon  bodily  strength." 

With  three  of  his  brethren  he  came  to  Canada  in  September,  1666,  and  soon 
after  his  arrival  joined  Colonel  Tracy  in  a  campaign  against  the  Mohawk 
Indians.  Then,  for  a  time,  he  was  chaplain  at  Fort  Ste.  Anne,  at  the  outlet 
of  Lake  Champlain.  He  passed  the  winter  of  1668-69  in  the  hunting  camp  of 
Nitarikijk,  a  chief  of  the  Nipissing  Indians.  While  in  the  Nipissing  camp  he 
met  an  Indian  prisoner  from  the  Lake  Superior  country,  who  told  him  of  the 
populous  tribes  living  in  that  region,  and  he  determined  to  pay  them  a  visit. 
In  the  early  summer  of  1669  he  went  to  Montreal  to  procure  an  outfit  for  his 

At  Montreal  he  met  Galinee  and  enlisted  his  cooperation.  Galinee  had  come 
to  America  the  year  before  with  Queylus,  the  superior  of  the  Siilpitian  Seminary 
at  Montreal.  After  hearing  Dollier 's  storj',  the  superior  gave  a  ready  assent 
to  the  undertaking  and  assisted  the  two  missionaries  in  their  preparations. 
Governor  Coui'celles  persuaded  them  to  join  La  Salle,  who  was  then  just  about 
ready  to  start  on  an  expedition  to  the  upper  lakes. 

On  July  6,  1669,  with  three  canoes  and  seven  men,  besides  themselves, 
they  left  Montreal.  On  September  24,  1669,  while  waiting  at  an  Indian  village 
called  Timaouataoua  for  guides,  they  met  Louis  Joliet,  who  was  on  his  way 
to  Lake  Superior  to  locate  some  copper  mines  and  also  to  find,  if  possible,  a 
better  route  to  the  upper  lakes  than  that  by  way  of  the  Ottawa  River,  Lake 
Nipissing  and  the  Georgian  Bay.  A  fever  caused  La  Salle  to  abandon  his 
expedition  and  Dollier  and  Galinee  linked  their  fortunes  with  Joliet. 

On  the  last  day  of  September  Dollier  said  mass  at  an  altar  formed  of  forked 
sticks  di'iven  into  the  ground,  connected  by  other  sticks  and  covered  with  sails 
from  their  canoes.  Immediately  after  the  mass,  La  Salle  started  for  Montreal 
and  Joliet  and  the  two  Sulpitians  turned  their  faces  to  the  Northwest.  Accord- 
ing to  Coyne's  translation  of  " Galinee 's  Narrative,"  they  arrived  at  Lake  Erie 
on  October  the  13th  or  14th,  cruised  along  the  northern  shore  of  the  lake  until 
they  reached  the  bay  behind  the  Long  Point,  where  they  went  into  winter 
quarters.  Here,  on  the  shore  of  Lake  Erie,  in  what  is  now  Norfolk  County, 
Ontario,  they  took  possession  of  the  country,  according  to  the  French  custom, 
by  erecting  a  cross  bearing  tlie  following  inscription  : 


"In  the  year  of  salvation  1669,  Clement  IX  being  seated  in  the  cha-ir  of 
St.  Peter,  Louis  XIV  reigning  in  Prance,  Monsieur  Coureelles  being  Governor 
of  New  France,  and  Monsieur  Talon  being  intendant  therein  for  the  king,  there 
arrived  at  this  place  two  missionaries  (of  the  Seminary)  of  Montreal,  accom- 
panied by  seven  other  Frenchmen,  who,  the  first  of  all  European  people,  have 
wintered  on  this  lake,  of  which  they  have  taken  possession  in  the  name  of  their 
king,  as  of  an  unoccupied  temtorj',  by  affixing  his  arms,  which  they  have 
attached  here  to  the  foot  of  this  cross. 

"In  testimony  whereof  we  have  signed  the  present  certificate. 

"Francois  Dollier, 
"Priest  of  the  Diocese  of  Nantes,  Brittany. 
"De  Galinee, 
"Deacon  of  the  Diocese  of  Eennes,  Brittany." 

On  March  2.3,  1670,  which  was  Passion  Sunday,  they  went  to  the  lake  shore 
and  noticed  that  the  ice  was  sufficiently  broken  up  for  them  to  continue  their 
voyage.  Keturning  to  camp,  they  hurried  foi-ward  the  preparations  for  their 
departure  and  on  "Wednesday,  March  26,  1670,  their  canoes  were  again  afloat 
on  Lake  Erie.  That  same  evening  they  encountered  a  storm  in  which  one  of 
their  canoes  was  lost.  The  nest  day  five  of  the  men  marched  along  the  lake 
shore,  with  two  men  in  each  of  the  two  remaining  canoes,  the  men  changing 
places  occasionally  to  rest  those  who  were  walking  and  give  those  in  the  canoes 
an  opportunity  for  exercise  after  sitting  for  hours  in  a  cramped  position. 
Galinee 's  Narrative  gives  this  account  of  their  progress: 

"We  pursued  our  journey  accordingly  toward  the  west,  and  after,  making 
about  one  hundred  leagues  on  Lake  Erie  arrived  at  the  place  where  the  Lake 
of  the  Hurons,  otherwise  called  the  Fresh  Water  Sea  of  the  Hurons,  or  Michigan, 
discharges  into  this  lake.  This  outlet  is  perhaps  half  a  league  in  width  and 
turns  sharp  to  the  northeast,  so  that  we  were  almost  retracing  our  path.  At 
the  end  of  six  leagues  we  discovered  a  place  that  is  remarkable  and  held  in 
.great  veneration  by  all  the  Indians  of  these  countries,  because  of  a  stone  idol 
that  nature  has  formed  there.  To  it  they  say  they  owe  their  good  luck  in 
sailing  on  Lake  Erie,  when  they  cross  it  without  accident,  and  they  propitiate 
it  by  sacrifices,  presents  of  skins,  provisions,  etc.,  when  they  wish  to  embark 
on  it.  The  place  was  full  of  camps  of  those  who  had  come  to  pay  homage  to 
tliis  stone,  which  had  no  other  resemblance  to  the  figure  of  a  man  than  what 
the  imagination  was  pleased  to  give  it.  However,  it  was  all  painted  and  a  sort 
of  face  had  been  formed  for  it  with  vermilion.  I  leave  you  to  imagine  whether 
we  avenged  upon  this  idol,  which  the  Iroquois  had  strongly  recommended  us 
to  honor,  the  loss  of  our  chapel.  We  attributed  to  it  even  the  dearth  of  provi- 
sions from  which  we  had  hitherto  suffered.  In  short,  there  was  nobody  whose 
hatred  it  had  not  incurred.  I  consecrated  one  of  my  axes  to  break  this  god  of 
stone,  and  then,  having  yoked  our  canoes  together,  we  carried  the  largest  pieces 
to  the  middle  of  the  river  and  threw  all  the  rest  also  into  the  water,  in  order 
that  it  might  never  be  heard  of  again.  God  rewarded  us  immediately  for  this 
good  action,  for  we  killed  a  roebuck  and  a  bear  that  very  day." 

The  outlet  of  Lake  Huron,  mentioned  by  Galinee  as  being  "half  a  league  in 
width,"  is  the  mouth  of  the  Detroit  River.  Six  leagues  up  that  stream,  where 
they  found  the  stone  idol,  was  not  far  from  where  Fort  Wayne  is  now  located. 
The  breaking  of  the  idol  gave  rise  to  an  Indian  legend,  to  the  effect  that,  after 
the  two  Sulpitians  had  been  gone  for  some  time,  a  company  of  Indians  came 


to  the  river  with  gifts  for  their  stone  deity  and  found  only  small  fragments 
of  its  mutilated  remains.  There  was  great  wailing  among  them  until  their 
medicine  man  directed  each  one  to  take  a  piece  of  the  stone  in  his  canoe  and 
let  it  guide  his  course.  "With  one  accord  the  remnants  of  the  shattered  image 
guided  the  canoes  to  Belle  Isle,  where  the  spirit  of  the  idol  had  taken  up  its 
abode.  This  spirit  told  the  Indians  to  cast  the  fragments  upon  the  ground  and 
when  they  obeyed  each  fragment  was  turned  into  a  rattlesnake,  to  guard  the 
island  against  the  encroachments  of  the  white  man. 

After  destroying  the  idol,  the  missionaries  passsed  on  up  the  river  for  four 
leagues,  where  they  came  to  a  "smaU  lake  about  ten  leagues  in  length  and 
almost  as  many  in  width,  called  by  M.  Sanson  'The  Salt  Water  Lake,'  but 
we  saw  no  sign  of  salt."  The  small  lake  was  christened  Lake  St.  Clair  by 
Father  Louis  Hennepin  nine  years  later,  when  he  passed  through  the  straits 
with  La  Salle. 

Galinee  was  a  good  topographer  for  that  day  and  made  a  map  to  accompany 
his  "Narrative."  Although  this  map  would  hardly  be  accepted  by  geographers 
of  the  present  day,  it  shows  with  tolerable  accuracy  many  of  the  leading  features 
of  the  shores  of  the  lakes.  A  copy  of  this  map,  as  well  as  Galinee 's  ' '  Narrative ' ' 
in  the  original  French,  and  two  translations  of  the  same  are  now  in  the  Burton 
Historical  Collection  at  Detroit. 



Spain's  policy  toward  the  Indians — the  French  policy — the  English  policy' 

THE    united    states    POLICY ORIGIN    OF    INDIAN    TREATIES TREATY'    OF    PORT 




When  the  first  white  men  came  to  iliehigan  they  found  the  Indians  in 
possession  of  the  land.  The  red  men  had  no  system  of  fixing  boundaries  or 
recording  deeds,  yet,  except  in  a  few  instances,  each  tribe  or  confederacy  occu- 
pied a  certain  district  as  its  exclusive  hunting  grounds,  until  driven  out  by  a 
more  powerful  tribe. 

By  the  treaty  of  September  3,  1783,  which  ended  the  Revolutionary  war, 
England  acknowledged  the  independence  of  the  United  States,  the  western 
boundary  of  which  was  fixed  at  the  Mississippi  River,  and  the  new  republic 
inherited  all  the  rights  and  powei-s  of  the  mother  country  in  dealing  with  the 
natives.  But  Great  Britain  had  no  power  to  extinguish  the  Indian  title  to  the 
lands,  leaving  that  problem  to  be  solved  by  the  Federal  Government.  Before 
the  United  States  could  come  into  formal  and  complete  possession  of  the  ter- 
ritory, it  was  necessary  that  some  agreement  be  made  with  the  natives  that 
would  permit  the  white  people  to  occupy  and  develop  the  country.  In  this 
<^'onnection  it  may  be  intei'esting  to  the  reader  to  notice  briefly  the  policies  of 
the  several  European  nations  claiming  territory  in  America  regarding  their 
relations  with  the  Indians. 

Spain's  policy 

When  Coi'tez  was  commissioned  captain-general  of  New  Spain  in  l.')29,  he 
was  instructed  to  "give  special  attention  to  the  conversion  of  the  Indians:  to 
see  that  no  Indians  be  given  to  the  Spaniards  as  servants;  that  they  pay  such 
tribute  to  His  ]\Ia,iesty  as  they  can  easily  afford;  that  there  shall  be  a  good 
correspondence  between  the  Spaniards  and  the  natives,  and  that  no  wrong 
shall  ever  be  offered  the  latter  either  in  their  goods,  families  or  persons. 

Notwithstanding  these  instructions  of  the  Spanish  Government,  during  the 
conquest  of  Mexico  the  treatment  of  the  Indians  was  often  cruel  in  the  extreme, 
many  of  them  being  enslaved  and  forced  to  work  in  the  mines  to  satisfy  the 
avarice  of  their  Spanish  taskmasters.  Don  Sebastian  Ramirez,  bishop  and  acting 
governor  after  Cortez,  honestly  endeavored  to  carry  out  the  humane  instruc- 
tions given  to  ("oi-ttv.,  Imt  soon  found  that  he  was  not  to  be  sustained.  Antonio 
de  Herrera  says  that  under  the  administi-ation  of  Ramirez  "the  country  was 
much  improved  and  all  things  carried  on  with  equity,  to  the  general  satisfaction 
of  all  good  men." 

With  regard  to  possession,  the  Spaniards  never  accepted  the  idea  that  the 

64    • 


Indians  owned  all  the  land,  but  only  that  portion  actually  occupied,  or  that 
might  be  necessarj'  to  supplj-  their  wants.  All  the  rest  of  the  land  they  con- 
sidered as  belonging  to  Spain  "by  right  of  discovery,"  and  was  taken  without 


It  seems  that  the  French  had  no  settled  policy  concerning  the  possession 
of  or  title  to  the  land.  When  the  French  Government,  in  1712,  granted  to 
Antoiue  Crozat  a  charter  giving  him  a  monopoly  of  the  Louisiana  trade,  it  was 
expressly  stipulated  that  the  Indians  living  in  the  province  were  to  receive 
religious  instruction,  but  no  provision  was  made  for  extinguishing  the  claim 
of  the  Indians  to  the  land.  In  the  letters  patent  given  by  Louis  XV  to  the 
Western  Company  ( Crozat 's  successor)  in  August,  1717,  was  the  following 
provision : 

"Section  IV — The  said  company  shall  be  free,  in  the  said  granted  lands, 
to  negotiate  and  make  alliance  with  all  the  nations  of  the  land,  except  those 
which  are  dependent  on  the  other  powers  of  Europe ;  she  may  agree  with  them 
on  such  conditions  as  she  may  think  fit,  to  settle  among  them  and  trade  freely 
with  them,  and  in  case  they  insult  her  she  may  declare  war  against  them,  attack 
them  or  defend  herself  by  means  of  arms,  and  negotiate  with  them  for  peace 
or  a  truce." 

It  will  be  noticed  that  in  this  section  there  is  nothing  said  about  the  acquisi- 
tion of  lands.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  French  cared  veiy  little  for  the  absolute 
ownership  of  the  lauds,  their  principal  object  being  the  control  of  the  fur 
trade.  In  the  establishment  of  trading  posts  only  a  small  tract  of  land  was 
required  for  each  post,  and  the  trader  and  his  retinue  usually  lived  with  the 
Indians  as  "tenants  in  common."  At  some  of  the  posts  a  few  acres  were 
cleared  for  the  pm-pose  of  raising  a  few  vegetables,  but  the  great  forests  were 
rarely  disturbed,  leaving  the  himting  grounds  of  the  natives  unmolested.  If 
the  trading  post  was  abandoned,  the  small  cultivated  tract  reverted  to  its 
Indian  o'maers.  LTnder  such  a  liberal  policy  it  is  not  surprising  that  the  French 
traders  were  nearly  always  on  friendlj^  terms  with  the  Indians. 


Great  Britain's  method  of  dealing  with  the  Indians  was  different  from  either 
that  of  Fi-ance  or  Spain.  The  English  colonists  wanted  to  establish  permanent 
homes  and  cultivate  the  soil.  Consequently,  title  to  the  land  was  the  first  con- 
sideration. The  English  Government,  however,  treated  the  Indian  as  a  bar- 
barian and  in  making  land  grants  ignored  any  claim  he  might  make  to  the  soil. 
The  so-called  "Great  Patent  of  Kew  England,"  which  was  granted  to  the 
Plymouth  Company,  including  all  the  land  from  40°  to  48°  north  latitude  and 
"from  sea  to  sea,"  made  not  the  slightest  allusion  to  the  Indian  title. 

The  charter  granted  by  Charles  I  to  Lord  Baltimore  gave  the  grantee 
authority  "to  collect  troops,  wage  war  on  the  barbarians  and  other  enemies 
who  may  make  incursions  into  the  settlements,  and  to  pursue  them  even  beyond 
the  limits  of  their  province,  and,  if  God  shall  grant  it,  to  vanqviish  and  cap- 
tivate them;  and  the  captives  to  put  to  death,  or  according  to  their  discretion, 
to  save." 

William  Penn's  charter  to  Pennsylvania  contained  a  similar  provision.  After 
the  settlements  reached  a  point  where  the  local  authorities  were  called  upon 


to  deal  with  tlie  question,  each  eolouy  adopted  a  policy  of  its  own.  That  of 
Pennsylvania  was  perhaps  the  only  one  whose  "foundations  were  laid  deep 
and  secure  in  the  principles  of  everlasting  justice."  Several  of  the  colonies 
followed  Penn's  example  and  bought  the  land  from  the  tribal  chiefs,  and  in  a 
number  of  instances  failure  to  quit  the  Indian  title  by  purchase  resulted  in 
bloody  and  disastrous  wars. 

All  the  nations  of  Europe  which  acquired  territory  in  America,  asserted  in 
themselves  and  recognized  in  others  the  exclusive  right  of  the  discoverer  to 
claim  and  appropriate  the  lands  occupied  by  the  Indians,  but  France  was  the 
only  nation  which  exercised  that  right  with  a  due  regard  for  the  original 
occupants.  Says  Parkman :  "Spanish  civilization  cmshed  the  Indian;  English 
civilization  sconied  and  neglected  him;  French  civilization  embraced  and  cher- 
ished him." 


The  people  who  founded  the  Government  of  the  United  States  were  either 
from  England  or  descendants,  for  the  most  part,  of  English  ancestors,  and 
they  copied  the  English  policy,  with  certain  modifications.  The  Articles  of 
Confederation,  the  first  organic  law  of  the  American  Republic,  provided  that: 
"The  United  States  in  Congress  assembled  shall  have  the  exclusive  right  and 
power  of  regulating  the  trade  and  managing  all  affairs  with  the  Indians  not 
members  of  any  of  the  states,  provided  that  the  legislative  right  of  any  state 
within  its  own  limits  be  not  infringed  or  violated." 

Under  this  authority  Congress,  on  September  22,  1783,  issued  a  manifesto 
forbidding  all  persons  to  settle  upon  the  Indian  lands.  Then  came  the  Federal 
Constitution,  which  superseded  the  Articles  of  Confederation,  and  which  vested 
in  Congress  the  power  to  deal  with  all  matters  arising  out  of  the  Government's 
relations  with  the  Indians.  On  March  1,  1793,  President  Washington  approved 
an  act  to  regulate  trade  and  intercourse  with  the  Indian  tribes,  in  which  it 
was  expressly  stipulated:  "That  no  purchase  or  grant  of  lands,  or  any  title 
or  claim  thereto,  from  any  Indians,  or  nation  or  tribe  of  Indians,  within  the 
bounds  of  the  United  States,  shall  be  of  any  validity,  in  law  or  equity,  unless 
the  same  be  made  by  a  treaty  or  convention  entered  into  pursiiant  to  the 
constitution. ' ' 

The  object  of  the  founders  of  the  Government  in  adopting  this  policy  was 
twofold :  First,  to  prevent  adventurers  from  trespassing  upon  the  Indian  lands, 
thereby  causing  conflicts  with  the  natives;  and,  second,  to  establish  a  system 
by  which  titles  to  lands  should  be  assured  for  all  time  to  come.  The  penalty 
for  violation  of  any  of  the  provisions  of  the  act  was  a  fine  of  $1,000  and  im- 
prisonment for  a  term  not  exceeding  twelve  months.  With  amendments  this 
law  remained  the  basis  of  all  relations  with  the  Indians  of  the  country  until 
1871.     Cyrus  Thomas,  of  the  United  States  Bureau  of  Ethnolog;^',  says : 

"By  the  act  of  March  3,  1871,  the  legal  fiction  of  recognizing  the  tribes  as 
independent  nations,  with  which  the  United  States  could  enter  into  solemn 
treaty,  was,  after  it  had  continued  nearly  one  hundred  years,  finally  done  away 
with.  The  effect  of  this  act  was  to  bring  under  the  immediate  control  of  Con- 
gi-ess  the  transactions  with  the  Indians  and  reduce  to  simple  agi'eements  what 
had  before  been  accomplished  by  solemn  treaties." 

Soon  after  the  Federal  Constitution  went  into  effect,  the  Government  began 
making  treaties  with  the  Indians.     At  first  tliese  treaties  were  merely  expres- 


sions  of  peace  and  friendship,  but  as  the  white  population  inci-eased  and  more 
territory  was  needed  for  white  settlement,  treaties  were  negotiated  with  the 
tribes  for  the  relinquishment  of  their  lands. 


In  fact,  before  the  adoption  of  the  Constitution,  the  United  States  had 
negotiated  treaties  of  peace  with  some  of  the  eastern  tribes.  On  October  22, 
1784,  Oliver  Wolcott,  Eichard  Butler  and  Arthur  Lee,  as  commissioners  of  the 
United  States,  concluded  a  treaty  with  the  Six  Nations  at  Foi-t  Stanwix,  New 
York.  This  treaty  is  of  interest  in  the  history  of  Detroit  only  because  it  fixed 
the  western  boundary  of  the  domain  of  the  Six  Nations.  While  the  Indians 
did  not  agree  to  give  up  any  of  their  lands  to  the  United  States  for  white  occu- 
pation, they  accepted  as  their  western  boundary  a  line  beginning  on  the  shore 
of  Lake  Ontario,  four  miles  east  of  Nia-gara,  and  running  thence  by  cex-tain 
described  courses  to  the  "forks  of  the  Ohio,"  where  the  City  of  Pittsburgh 
now  stands.  Prior  to  the  conclusion  of  this  treaty,  the  Six  Nations  were  fre- 
quently at  war  with  the  tribes  that  inhabited  the  country  about  Detroit,  par- 
ticularly the  Huron  or  Wyandot.  The  establishment  of  the  boundaiy  line 
brought  peace  to  the  Indians  living  west  of  it. 

By  the  treaty  of  Fort  Harmar,  which  was  concluded  on  January  9,  1789, 
between  Gen.  Arthur  St.  Clair,  representing  the  United  States,  and  the  chiefs 
of  the  Six  Nations,  the  treaty  of  Fort  Stanwix  was  modified  so  as  to  give  the 
Indians  some  additional  territorj'  in  the  western  part  of  New  York.  This 
treaty  was  proclaimed  on  June  9,  1789,  and  remained  in  force  until  the  Six 
Nations  ceded  their  lands  to  the  United  States  and  accepted  reservations. 


Late  in  July,  1795,  a  great  council  of  Indians  was  called  at  Greenville, 
Ohio,  by  Gen.  Anthony  Wayne,  acting  under  the  authority  of  the  United  States. 
Chiefs  of  twelve  tribes  were  present  at  the  council,  viz. :  The  Chippewa,  Dela- 
ware, Eel  River,  Kaskaskia,  Kickapoo,  Miami,  Ottawa,  Piankesha,  Pottawatomi, 
Shawnee,  Wea  and  Wyandot.  On  August  3,  1795,  a  treaty  was  concluded 
which  established  a  boundarj-  line  between  the  Indian  possessions  and  the  white 
settlements  in  Ohio,  to  wit:  "Beginning  at  the  mouth  of  the  Cuyahoga  River 
and  up  that  stream  to  the  portage  between  the  Cuyahoga  and  the  Tuscarawas 
branch  of  the  ^Muskingum  River;  thence  down  the  Tuscarawas  branch  to  the 
crossing  place  above  Fort  Lawrence  (Laurens)  ;  thence  westerly  to  that  branch 
of  the  Great  iliami  River  running  into  the  Ohio,  at  or  near  which  fork  stood 
Loromie's  Store,  and  where  commences  the  portage  between  the  Miami  of  the 
Ohio  and  the  St.  Mai-y's  River,  which  is  a  branch  of  the  Miami  (Maumee) 
which  runs  into  Lake  Erie ;  thence  in  a  westerly  course  to  Fort  Recovery,  which 
stands  on  a  branch  of  the  Wabash ;  thence  southwesterly  in  a  direct  line  to 
the  Ohio  River,  so  as  to  intersect  that  river  opposite  the  mouth  of  the  Kentucke 
or  Cuttawa  River." 

All  the  counti-y  south  and  east  of  this  line  was  ceded  by  the  Indians  to  the 
United  States.  About  a  year  later,  the  northern  part  of  this  line  was  defined 
as  the  boundarv  of  Wayne  County  in  the  proclamation  of  Winthrop  Sargent, 
acting  governor  of  the  Northwest  Territory.  North  and  west  of  the  line  six- 
teen small  tracts  were  ceded  by  the  Indians  for  military  posts,  etc.  These 
tracts  were  as  follows : 


1.  One  piece  of  land  six  miles  square  at  Loromie's  Store,  not  far  from  the 
present  City  of  Piqixa,  Ohio. 

2.  One  piece  of  land  two  miles  scjnare  at  the  head  of  navigable  waters  on 
the  St.  Mary's  Kiver,  near  Girty's  To«tl,  about  twenty  miles  east  of  Fort 

3.  A  tract  six  miles  square  at  the  head  of  navigation  on  the  Au  Glaize 

4.  A  tract  six  miles  square  at  the  confluence  of  the  Au  Glaize  and  ]\Iaumee 
rivers,  where  the  City  of  Defiance  now  stands. 

5.  One  piece  of  land  six  miles  square  at  or  near  the  confluence  of  the  St. 
Mary's  and  St.  Josej^h's  rivers,  where  the  City  of  Fort  "Wayne,  Indiana,  is  now 

6.  One  piece  of  land  on  the  Wabash  River  at  the  end  of  the  portage  from 
the  iliami  (Maumee)  of  the  lake  and  about  eight  miles  westward  from  Fort 

7.  A  jiiece  of  land  six  miles  square  at  the  Oniatenon,  or  old  Wea  towns  on 
the  Wabash  River,  a  few  miles  below  the  present  City  of  Lafayette,  Indiana. 

8.  One  piece  of  land  twelve  miles  square  at  the  British  fort  on  the  ]\Iiami 
(Maumee)  of  the  lake  at  the  foot  of  the  rapids,  near  the  present  City  of  Napo- 
leon, Ohio. 

9.  A  tract  six  miles  square  at  the  mouth  of  the  ]\Iaumee,  where  the  City 
of  Toledo  now  stands. 

10.  A  ti'act  six  miles  square  on  Sandusky  Lake,  where  a  fort  formerly  stood. 

11.  One  piece  of  land  two  miles  square  at  the  lower  rapids  of  the  San- 
dusky River,  not  far  from  the  present  City  of  Fremont,  Ohio. 

12.  "The  post  of  Detroit  and  all  the  land  to  the  north,  the  west  and  the 
south  of  it,  of  which  tlie  Indian  title  has  been  extinguished  by  gifts  or  grants 
to  the  French  or  English  governments;  and  so  much  more  land  to  be  annexed 
to  the  District  of  Detroit  as  shall  be  comprehended  between  the  River  Rosine 

'  on  the  south.  Lake  St.  Clair  on  the  north,  and  a  line,  the  general  course  whereof 
shall  be  six  miles  distant  from  the  west  end  of  Lake  Erie  and  the  Detroit 
River. ' ' 

13.  "The  post  of  IMichilimackinac  and  all  the  land  on  the  island  on  which 
that  post  stands,  and  the  main  land  ad.iacent,  of  which  the  Indian  title  has 
been  extinguished  by  gifts  or  grants  to  the  French  or  English  governments; 
and  a  piece  of  land  on  the  main  land  to  the  north  of  the  island,  to  measure 
six  miles  on  Lake  Huron,  or  the  streight  between  Lakes  Huron  and  ilichigan, 
and  to  extend  three  miles  back  from  the  water  of  the  lake  or  streight,  and  also 
the  island  De  Bris  Blanc,  being  an  extra  and  voluntary  gift  of  the  Chippewa 

14.  A  tract  six  miles  square  at  the  mouth  of  the  Chikago  River,  emptying 
into  the  southwest  end  of  Lake  ^Michigan,  where  a  fort  formerly  stood.  This 
tract  is  now  all  within  the  city  limits  of  Chicago. 

15.  A  piece  of  land  twelve  miles  square  at  or  near  the  mouth  of  tlie  Illinois 
River,  whore  it  empties  into  the  ^Mississippi.  This  tract  included  the  old  post 
of  Kaskaskia. 

16.  One  piece  of  land  six  miles  sfpiare  at  the  old  Peoria  fort  and  village, 
near  the  south  end  of  Illinois  Lake  on  said  Illinois  River,  where  the  City  of 
Peoria  now  stands. 

In  addition  to  the  above  mentioned  tracts  of  land,  the  Indians  gave  the 
T'nited  States  tlie  riglit  of  way  for  a  passage,  either  by  land  or  water,  through 


the  Indian  ccnntry.  The  cessions  made  by  the  treaty  of  Greenville  were  the 
first  ever  made  by  the  Indians  to  the  Government  of  the  United  States.  In 
return,  the  United  States  agreed  to  relinquish  claim  to  all  other  Indian  lands 
north  of  the  Ohio  Eiver,  east  of  the  ]Mississippi  and  west  and  south  of  the 
Great  Lakes,  except  a  tract  of  150,000  acres  near  the  Falls  of  the  Ohio,  granted 
to  Gen.  George  Kogers  Clark  for  the  use  of  himself  and  his  soldiers. 


On  November  17,  1807,  William  Hull,  then  governor  of  Michigan  Terri- 
tory and  superintendent  of  Indian  affairs,  held  a  council  at  Detroit  with  the 
chiefs  and  head  men  of  the  Chippewa,  Ottawa,  Pottawatomi  and  Wyandot 
tribes  at  Detroit,  which  resulted  in  the  conclusion  of  a  treaty,  the  first  article 
of  which  was  as  follows: 

"Article  I.  The  sachems,  chiefs  and  warriors  of  the  nations  aforesaid,  in 
consideration  of  money  and  goods,  to  be  paid  to  the  said  nations  by  the  United 
States  as  hereinafter  stipulated,  cede  all  the  lands  contained  within  the  follow- 
ing boundaries:  "Beginning  at  the  moiith  of  the  Miami  River  of  the  Lakes 
and  running  thence  up  the  middle  thereof  to  the  mouth  of  the  great  Avi  Glaize 
River;  thence  running  due  north  until  it  intersects  a  parallel  of  latitude  to  be 
drawn  from  the  outlet  of  Lake  Huron,  which  forms  the  River  St.  Clair;  thence 
running  northeast,  the  course  that  maj'  be  found  will  lead  in  a  direct  line  to 
the  Wliite  Rock  in  Lake  Huron ;  thence  due  east  until  it  intersects  the  boi;n- 
dary  line  between  the  United  States  and  Upper  Canada  in  said  lake ;  thence 
southwardly,  following  the  said  boundary  line,  through  the  River  St.  Clair, 
Lake  St.  Clair  and  the  Detroit  River  into  Lake  Erie,  to  a  point  due  east  of 
the  said  Miami  River;  thence  west  to  the  place  of  beginning." 

For  this  tract  the  United  States  agreed  to  pay  $10,000  in  money,  or  in 
goods  and  animals  for  the  improvement  of  husbandry,  at  the  option  of  the 
Indians.  Of  this  amoimt,  the  Chippewa  and  Ottawa  were  each  to  receive 
$3,333.33,  the  remainder  to  be  divided  equally  between  the  Pottawatomi  and 
Wyandot  tribes.  In  addition  to  this  initial  pa^Tnent,  the  Indians  were  to  re- 
ceive, "forever,"  an  annuity  of  $2,400,  to  be  distributed  among  the  tribes  as 
follows :  $800  to  the  Chippewa ;  $800  to  the  Ottawa ;  $400  to  the  Pottawatomi, 
and  $400  to  the  Wyandot.  The  treaty  was  proclaimed  on  Januar^^  27,  1808, 
and  the  ceded  ten-itory  was  included  in  Waj-ne  County  by  the  proclamation 
of  Governor  Cass,  dated  November  15,  1815.    (See  Chapter  XI.) 

TREATY    OF    ST.    MARY's 

About  a  year  after  the  treaty  of  Detroit,  some  of  the  Wj'andot  Indians  be- 
came dissatisfied  over  its  terms,  which  compelled  them  to  give  up  their  old 
Adllages  on  the  Huron  River,  in  what  is  now  Brownstown  Tovmship,  Wayne 
County.  On  February  28,  1809,  President  Jefferson  approved  an  act  of  Con- 
gress giving  the  inhabitants  of  these  villages  and  their  descendants  the  right 
to  occupy  their  old  homes  for  a  period  of  fifty  years,  unless  a  new  treaty  for 
their  cession  was  concluded. 

On  September  20,  1818,  a  treaty  was  concluded  at  St.  Mary's,  Ohio,  by 
Gen.  Lewis  Cass,  governor  of  Michigan  Ten-itorj-,  with  certain  Ottawa  and 
Wyandot  bands,  including  the  one  to  which  the  old  villages  had  been  granted 
by  the  act  of  February  28,  1809.  By  the  treaty  of  St.  Mary's,  the  band  re- 
linquished the  lands  in  Brownstown  Township  and  accepted  therefor  a  reser- 
vation consisting  of  sections  23,  24,  25,  26,  27,  34,  35  and  36,  and  that  part  of 


section  22  lying  soutli  of  the  Huron  River,  in  township  4  south,  range  9  east, 
containing  4,996  acres.  The  map  of  WajTie  County  accompanj-ing  Dr.  Doug- 
lass Houghton's  report  as  state  geologist  for  1843,  shows  this  reservation  as 
being  composed  of  the  nine  southeastern  sections  of  Huron  Township,  thougli 
the  reservation  had  been  ceded  to  the  United  States  the  preceding  year. 


After  the  act  of  February  28,  1809,  which  gave  certain  Wyandot  bands 
the  privilege  of  occupying  their  old  villages  in  Michigan,  some  of  the  other 
tribes  that  participated  in  the  negotiation  of  the  treaty  of  1807  endeavored  to 
set  up  claims  to  their  old  homes  in  that  ten-itory.  No  attention  was  paid  to 
their  claims  by  the  Fedei'al  authorities,  and  after  the  treaty  of  St.  Mary's  the 
grumbling  on  the  part  of  the  Indians  practically  ceased,  though  occasionally 
some  chief  would  declare  that  the  United  States  had  cheated  the  red  men  in 
the  treaty  of  Detroit. 

On  September  26,  1833,  George  B.  Porter,  Thomas  J.  V.  Owen  and  William 
Weatherford,  as  commissioners  of  the  United  States,  concluded  a  treaty  at 
Chicago  with  the  confederated  nations  of  Chippewa,  Ottawa  and  Pottawatomi 
Indians.  B_y  this  treaty  the  tribes  mentioned  ceded  to  the  United  States  all 
their  lands  bordering  on  the  west  shore  of  Lake  Michigan  and  confirmed  the 
provisions  of  the  treaties  of  Detroit  and  St.  ]\Iary's.  The  Chicago  treaty  is 
of  interest  in  a  History  of  Detroit  only  because  of  this  confirmation  which  gave 
the  wliite  men  an  undisputed  title  to  the  former  Indian  lands. 


This  was  the  last  Indian  treaty  affecting  the  Indian  title  to  lands  in  Wa.vne 
County.  Early  in  the  j-ear  1842,  President  Tyler  appointed  John  Johnston  a 
commissioner  to  treat  with  the  Wyandot  nation  for  the  relinquishment  of  all 
.  their  lands  in  Ohio  and  Michigan.  Mr.  Jolniston  met  the  Wyandot  chiefs, 
counselors  and  head  men  in  council  at  Upper  Sanduskj%  where  on  March  17, 
1842,  was  concluded  a  treaty  by  which  the  Indians  ceded  to  the  United  States 
"all  right  and  title  to  the  Wyandot  reserve  on  both  sides  of  the  River  Huron, 
in  the  State  of  Michigan,  containing  4,996  acres,  being  all  the  land  claimed  or 
set  apart  for  the  use  of  the  Wyandot  nation  within  the  State  of  Michigan." 

For  the  relinquishment  of  this  reservation  and  the  Wyandot  lands  in  Ohio, 
the  United  States  promised  the  Indians  a  reservation  of  148,000  acres,  some- 
where west  of  the  Mississippi  River  acceptable  to  them,  to  pay  the  expenses 
of  removal,  give  the  tribe  an  annuity  of  $17,500,  allow  them  $500  annually 
for  the  maintenance  of  a  school,  furnish  them  a  blacksmith  and  iron  for  their 
needs,  and  discharge  all  debts  owed  by  the  tribe  to  white  traders,  amounting 
to  .$23,860. 

The  Huron  River  reserve  was  vacated  soon  after  the  conclusion  of  the  treat.y, 
the  United  States  paying  $500  to  defray  the  expenses  of  the  band's  removal 
to  Upper  Sandusky,  where  all  the  Wyandot  nation  was  to  rendezvous  for  their 
removal  west  of  the  Mississippi.  Some  delay  occurred  in  finding  a  tract  of 
148,000  acres  that  was  satisfactory  to  the  chiefs,  but  in  1844  the  whole  tribe 
was  settled  in  what  is  now  Wyandotte  County,  Kansas. 

When  Cadillac  founded  the  post  of  Detroit  in  1701,  his  first  object  was  to 
form  friendlv  relations  with  the  Indians  and  have  them  locate  near     his  fort. 


From.  1760  to  1796  Detroit  was  under  British  control.  Neitlier  the  French  nor 
the  English  made  any  attempts  to  establish  permanent  settlements  in  Michigan 
away  from  the  trading  posts.  With  the  Americans  it  was  diiJerent.  Thej' 
were  not  fur  traders  and  they  wanted  the  lands  for  agi-icultural  purposes. 
Through  the  treaties  above  described,  the  white  race  came  into  possession  and 
the  red  men  were  removed  from  the  hunting  grounds  of  their  fathere.  Such 
names  as  Kalamazoo,  Muskegon,  Pontiac,  Saginaw,  Shiawassee,  Tekonsha  and 
Washtenaw  are  all  that  they  left  behind  them.  These  names  are  pathetic  re- 
minders of  the  savage  tribes  that  once  roamed  through  the  forests  and  oak 
openings  of  Southern  Michigan  or  paddled  their  canoes  over  the  placid  waters 
of  the  Detroit  River  and  Lake  St.  Clair. 








For  a  long  time  little  was  known  of  the  early  life  of  Antoine  Laumet  de 
La  Mothe  Cadillae,  the  founder  of  Detroit,  even  the  exact  date  and  place  of  his 
birth  being  matters  of  uncertainty.  Early-  in  the  year  1907,  Clarence  I\I.  Bur- 
ton was  iu  France  and  learned  that  the  Archseological  Society  of  ]\Iontaubau 
had  marked  the  biithplace  of  Cadillac  by  a  memorial  tablet.  Montaubau  is 
located  on  the  River  Tarn,  about  thirty  miles  north  of  Toiilouse  on  the  Garonne, 
in  the  Department  of  Tarn-et-Garonne,  which  takes  its  name  from  the  two 

Hoping  to  find  the  solution  of  a  long-standing  problem,  Mr.  Burton  made 
the  journey  from  Paris  to  ilontaubau,  where  he  consulted  the  officers  of  the 
archffiological  society,  from  whom  he  learned  that  Cadillae  was  born  at  St.  Nico- 
las de  la  Grave,  a  village  of  some  two  or  three  thousand  inhabitants,  about 
twenty-three  miles  from  Montaubau.  and  that  the  memorial  tablet  had  been 
placed  on  November  8,  190-1. 


Continuing  his  .journey  to  St.  Nicholas  de  la  Grave,  Mr.  Burton  found  the 
house  in  which  Cadillac  was  born  to  be  a  small  one-story  brick  dwelling,  proba- 
bly five  hundred  years  old.     The  inscription  on  the  tablet  reads : 

A  la  Memorie 

Antoiuc  Laumet  de  LaMothe  Cadillac 

Ne  Dans  Cette  Maismi  Le  5  Mars,  1658 

Colonisateaur  Du  Canada  et  De  La  Lonisiane 

Fondatcur  de  Detroit 

Gouvernevr  Dc  Castelsarrasin 

Ou  II  Est  Mori  in  17S0 

Translation — To  the  memory  of  Antoine  Laumet  de  Lailothe  Cadillac,  born 

in  this  house,  JMarch  5,   1658,  colonizer  of  Canada  and  Louisiana,  founder  of 

Detroit,  governor  of  Castelsan-asin,  where  he  died  in  1730. 

Cadillac's  father  was  Jean  Laumet,  "lawj'er,  assistant  to  the  justice,  royal 
justice,  counselor  of  the  king  in  the  Parliament  of  Toulouse,"  and  his  mother 
was  Jeanne  de  Pechagut.  His  parents  were  married  ou  ]\Iarch  16,  1646,  and 
Antoine  was  the  fourth  child  of  their  union.  The  family  name  of  Laumet,  as 
applied  to  the  founder  of  Detroit,  seems  to  have  become  practically  lost  after 
he  came  to  America,  which  is  no  doubt  the  reason  for  some  of  the  confusion 


First  called  Fort  Pontchartrain 


that  has  resulted  regarding  the  history  of  his  early  life.  That  he  was  liberally 
educated  for  a  j'outh  of  that  period  is  apparent  in  his  writings,  his  skill  as  a 
navigator  and  the  executive  ability  he  displayed  in  the  various  positions  of 
ti'ust  and  responsibility  to  which  he  was  called.  He  was  a  cadet  in  the  regi- 
ment of  Dampierre-Lorraine  and  a  lieutenant  in  the  regiment  of  Clairenibault 
in  1677. 


In  1683,  when  only  twenty-five  years  of  age,  Cadillac  came  to  America  and 
located  at  Port  Royal  (now  Annapolis),  Nova  Scotia.  There  he  formed  the 
acquaintance  of  Francois  Guyon  of  Beauport,  a  merchant  and  trader  (some 
say  a  privateer),  with  whom  he  became  associated  in  the  seafaring  business. 
Cadillac  had  previously  acquired  some  knowledge  of  the  art  of  navigation  and 
now  learned  much  of  the  Atlantic  coast  of  North  America,  which  later  was 
destined  to  bring  him  into  important  relations  with  the  French  Government. 
In  his  voj'ages  to  Quebec  he  met  and  fell  in  love  with  his  partner's  niece, 
Therese  Guyon,  daughter  of  Denis  and  Elizabeth  (Boucher)  Guyon,  to  whom 
he  was  married  at  Quebec  on  June  25,  1687.  In  the  church  record  of  the  mar- 
riage the  bridegroom  is  named  "Antoine  de  la  Mothe,  Sieur  de  Cadillac,  of 
Port  Royal  in  Acadia,  aged  about  twenty-six  years,  son  of  Jean  de  la  Mothe, 
Sieur  de  Cadillac,  de  Launay  et  de  Semontel,  counselor  of  the  Parliament  of 
Toulouse,  and  Jeanne  de  Malenfant." 

In  this  record  the  approximate  age  of  Cadillac,  as  given,  is  three  years 
younger  than  he  really  was,  and  there  is  likewise  an  error  in  the  name  of  his 
mother.  Historians  who  have  depended  upon  this  record,  for  information  con- 
cerning Cadillac's  age  and  parentage,  have  very  naturally  been  led  astray. 
Some  time  previous  to  his  marriage,  his  superior  officer  in  the  French  Army, 
recommending  him  for  promotion,  called  him  LaMothe.  This  name,  a  common 
one  in  France,  was  adopted  by  him  and  he  was  thereafter  known  as  Antoine 
de  LaMothe  Cadillac,  the  name  Cadillac  being  derived  from  landed  possessions. 

Cadillac's  children 

To  Antoine  de  LaMothe  Cadillac  and  his  wife,  Therese,  were  born  thirteen 
children,  viz. : 

1.  Judith,  born  at  Port  Royal  in  1689.  On  November  12,  1711,  slie  took 
the  veil  as  an  Ursuline  nun  at  Quebec,  to  be  a  perpetual  pensioner,  her  father 
paying  6,000  livres  for  her  support. 

2.  Magdalene,  date  and  place  of  birth  uncertain.  She  was  probably  born 
at  Quebec  or  Mount  Desert  Island  and  upon  arriving  at  womanhood  also  be- 
came an  Ursuline  nun. 

3.  Antoine  de  LaMothe  Cadillac,  fils,  liorn  at  Quebec  on  April  26,  1692, 
accompanied  his  father  to  Detroit  in  1701,  and  was  made  an  ensign  in  1707. 
He  died  about  1730. 

4.  Jacques,  born  at  Quebec  on  March  16,  1695,  and  was  brought  to  Detroit 
by  his  mother  in  1702. 

5.  Pierre  Denis,  born  at  Quebec  on  June  13,  1699,  and  died  there  when 
about  one  year  old.    He  was  buried  on  July  4,  1700. 

6.  Marianne,  born  at  Quebec  on  June  7,  1701,  and  was  buried  there  two 
days  later. 

7.  A  child  bom  at  Detroit  in  the  latter  part  of  1702,  or  early  in   1703, 


meutioiied  in  one  of   Cadillac's  letters.     The  baptismal  reeoi'd  of  this  child 
was  probably  destroyed  in  the  fire  of  1703. 

8.  ilarie  Therese,  bom  at  Detroit  on  February  2,  1704.  She  was  married 
at  Castelsarrasin  on  Febiiiary  16,  1729,  to  Noble  Francois  de  Pouzargues,  and 
died  there  in  Februarj^,  1753. 

9.  Jean  Autoiue,  born  at  Detroit  on  January  19,  1707,  and  was  buried 
there  on  April  9,  1709. 

10.  Marie  Agathe,  born  at  Detroit  on  December  28,  1707.  No  further 
record  of  this  daughter  is  obtainable. 

11.  Francois,  born  at  Detroit  on  March  27,  1709,  and  was  still  living  at 
the  time  of  his  father's  death. 

12.  Rene  Louis,  born  at  Detroit  on  ilarch  17,  1710,  and  was  buried  at 
Quebec  in  October,  1714. 

13.  Joseph,  a  son  mentioned  in  the  records  relating  to  the  settlement  of 
his  father's  estate.     The  date  and  place  of  his  birth  could  not  be  ascertained. 

Of  these  tliirteen  children,  only  thi'ee  were  living  at  the  time  of  Cadillac's 
death.  They  were  Marie  Therese,  Francois  and  Joseph,  whose  names  are  found 
in  the  records  of  Castelsarrasin  in  connection  with  the  division  of  Cadillac's 


Immediately  after  his  marriage,  Cadillac  took  his  young  wife  (she  was  only 
a  little  more  than  sixteen  years  of  age)  to  Port  Royal.  The  next  year  he  peti- 
tioned the  I\Iarquis  de  Denonville,  then  governor  of  New  France,  for  a  grant 
of  land  "two  leagues  on  the  sea  shore,  by  two  leagues  in  depth,  within  the  land, 
at  a  place  called  Donaquec,  near  Mageis  (Port  ilachias),  the  Donaquee  River 
to  divide  the  said  two  leagues  in  depth,  one  league  to  be  taken  on  the  west 
side  and  one  league  on  the  east  side  of  said  river,  with  the  islands  which  are 
on  the  fore  part  of  tlie  said  two  front  leagues,  to  hold  in  fief  and  lordship 
with  high,  mean  and  low  jurisdiction,  being  desirous  to  promote  an  establish- 
ment there." 

The  petition  was  gi'anted  by  Governor  Denonville  on  July  23,  1688,  and  was 
confirmed  by  Louis  XIV  on  May  24.  1689.  The  grant  was  recorded  at  Quebec 
on  April  20,  1691.  It  embraced  the  Island  of  ilount  Desert  and  a  tract  of 
the  mainland  opposite,  including  all  of  Bar  Harbor  on  the  coast  of  Maine.  At 
the  time  the  grant  was  made,  the  lands  lay  in  what  was  known  as  Acadia.  After 
the  Revolution,  the  tract  formed  a  part  of  the  Territory  of  Penobscot,  in  the 
State  of  Massachusetts,  Maine  not  being  admitted  to  the  Union  as  a  state  until 
1820.  This  grant  indicates  that  Cadillac,  at  this  time,  was  considered  a  man 
of  importance  and  held  in  high  esteem. 

In  May,  1761,  Marie  Therese,  daughter  of  Joseph  and  granddaughter  of 
Antoine  de  LalMothe  Cadillac,  married  her  cousin,  Bartholomey  de  Gi-egoire,  at 
Castelsarrasin.  On  June  15,  1785,  the  French  consul  at  Boston,  on  behalf  of 
Marie  Therese  Gregoire  and  her  husband,  made  application  to  the  State  of 
Massachusetts  for  the  restoration  to  them  of  the  lands.  His  petition  was  re- 
ferred to  a  committee  on  unappropriated  lands,  where  it  rested  until  the  fall 
of  1786,  when  the  Gregoires  arrived  to  prosecute  their  claim  in  person.  Their 
second  petition  was  presented  on  November  6,  1786,  and  set  forth  the  facts 
concerning  the  manner  in  which  the  lands  were  acquired  by  Cadillac,  who  was 
styled  as  "Lord  of  Donaquec  and  ]\Iount  Desert."   After  some  delay,  the  ilassa- 


ehusetts  Legislature  granted  the  petition  on  July  5,  1787,  and  on  October  29, 
1787,  the  Gregoires  and  their  three  children — Pierre,  Nicolas  and  ilarie — 
became  naturalized  citizens  of  the  United  States  of  America. 

Says  Farmer:  "'The  lands  were  actually  within  the  limits  claimed  by  Massa- 
chusetts at  the  time  Louis  XIV  made  the  concession.  *  *  *  The  conceding 
of  the  claim  of  the  Gregoires  was  really  a  graceful  act,  but  the  good  feeling 
then  entertained  toward  the  French  nation,  on  account  of  services  rendered  in 
the  Kevolutionary  war,  undoubtedly  had  much  to  do  with  the  favor  with  which 
the  claim  was  received." 


"While  making  his  preparations  to  settle  a  colony  on  the  Donaquec  River 
or  IMount  Desert  Island,  Cadillac  continued  to  live  at  Port  Royal.  In  1689 
Louis  XIV  declared  war  against  England.  This  conflict  is  commonly  known 
as  King  Williams'  war.  Cadillac  was  summoned  to  Paris  in  1689,  to  consult 
with  the  king  as  to  the  best  means  of  prosecuting  the  war.  During  his  absence 
Port  Roj'al  was  captured  by  the  English  expedition  under  Sir  William  Phipps 
on  May  10,  1690,  and  Madame  Cadillac,  with  her  infant  daughter,  went  to 
her  mother's  home  in  Quebec.  There  she  was  found  by  her  husband  upon  his 
return  from  France,  soon  after  the  defeat  of  Sir  William  Phipps  by  the  French 
troops  under  Count  Frontenac,  who  had  succeeded  the  ]\Iarquis  de  Denonville 
as  governor  of  New  Prance. 

Cadillac  proved  to  be  of  great  assistance  to  Governor  Frontenac  in  planning 
his  campaigns  for  the  defense  of  New  France.  In  February,  1692,  Count  Pont- 
chartrain,  the  French  minister  of  marine,  wrote  to  Frontenac  to  send  "Antoine 
de  LaJIothe  Cadillac  to  Paris  by  the  first  ship,  that  he  may  give  minute  in- 
formation to  aid  in  the  proposed  attack  on  New  York  and  New  England,  as 
he  is  considered  to  be  the  best  instructed  on  plans,  soundings  and  all  observa- 

Pursuant  to  this  request,  Cadillac  again  went  to  France.  On  this  occasion 
he  presented  his  plan  for  the  defense  of  the  rivers  and  lakes  of  Canada  by 
using  vessels  of  light  draft,  which  plan  was  approved  by  the  king.  He  returned 
to  Canada  and  toward  the  close  of  the  war  was  made  a  second  lieutenant  in 
the  French  navy.  At  that  time  the  French  colonies  were  imder  the  control 
of  the  naval  department,  hence  the  soldiers  of  New  France  were  classed  as 
marines,  although  much  of  their  service  was  upon  the  land.  On  October  25, 
1694,  Governor  Frontenac  wrote  to  Count  Pontchartrain :  "Lieutenant  Cad- 
illac is  a  man  of  rank,  full  of  capability  and  valor;  and  I  have  just  sent  him 
to  Missilimakinae  to  command  all  those  posts  of  the  iipper  country  and  to  fill 
the  place  of  the  Sieur  de  Louvigny  de  Laporte. ' ' 

Cadillac  remained  the  commandant  at  Michilimackinac  until  after  the  death 
of  Governor  Frontenac  in  1698.  During  that  time  his  wife  and  children  lived 
in  Quebec.  On  his  visits  to  his  f amity,  and  from  the  reports  of  earlj'  French 
explorers,  he  became  imbued  with  the  advantages  of  the  country  along  the 
Detroit  River  as  a  desirable  location  for  a  post.  Soon  after  the  death  of  Count 
Frontenac  he  went  to  France  to  present  the  matter  to  the  king.  The  history 
of  the  post  of  Detroit  under  Cadillac,  his  controversy  with  the  Company  of 
the  Colony  of  Canada,  his  disputes  with  the  Jesuits,  his  financial  losses,  etc., 
is  given  in  the  next  chapter. 



Men  of  positive  natures  invariably  make  enemies.  Cadillac's  enemies  accused 
him  of  being-  "opinionated  and  quarrelsome,"  and  through  their  influence  and 
that  of  their  friends  he  was  finally  removed  from  the  position  of  commandant 
at  Detroit.  To  soften  the  blow  of  the  removal,  he  was  appointed  governor  of 
the  French  Province  of  Louisiana.  This  appointment  was  made  on  ]\Iay  6. 
1710,  but  he  remained  at  Detroit  until  some  time  in  the  summer  of  the  follow- 
ing year. 

In  September,  1712,  Antoine  Crozat,  a  wealthy  merchant  of  Paris,  wa^ 
granted  a  charter  giving  him  the  exclusive  right  to  trade  in  Louisiana,  as  well 
as  the  proceeds  of  any  mines  he  might  discover  and  develop.  Crozat  continued 
Cadillac  in  the  office  of  governor  and,  it  is  said,  promised  him  a  liberal  per- 
centage of  the  profits  derived  from  commercial  transactions  and  mining  opera- 
tions in  the  province.  Cadillac's  whereabouts  at  this  time  are  somewhat  un- 
certain. He  was  probably  in  France,  as  the  Louisiana  records  show  that  on 
May  17,  1713,  he  aii-ived  at  Dauphin  Island,  at  the  entrance  to  Mobile  Bay,  on 
the  French  frigate  "Baron  de  la  Fosse."  He  was  accompanied  by  his  family 
and  servants,  and  brought  a  large  quantity  of  provisions  and  munitions  of 
war  for  the  colony  there. 

At  that  time  the  settlement  was  near  the  head  of  IMobile  Bay,  but  in  1713 
Cadillac  caused  it  to  be  removed  to  the  site  of  the  present  City  of  Mobile,  where 
a  number  of  houses  were  built  during  the  summer  and  autumn.  In  order  to 
obtain  supplies  for  the  infant  colony,  he  sent  out  expeditions  in  various  direc- 
tions to  ascertain  the  resources  of  the  country,  and  endeavored  to  open  a  trade 
with  the  Spanish  settlements  in  Mexico.  In  the  summer  of  1715  he  visited 
the  Illinois  eoimtry  and  examined  the  lead  mines  near  the  present  City  of 
Dubuque,  Iowa.  Eetuming  to  Llobile,  he  embarked  for  France  in  November, 
1715.  to  report  the  result  of  his  explorations  and  make  further  arrangements 
for  the  support  of  the  settlements  in  Louisiana. 


Cadillac's  reports  from  Louisiana  indicate  that  he  was  not  altogether  sat- 
isfied with  the  country.  Possibly  his  removal  from  Detroit  and  the  blasting 
of  his  hopes  still  rankled  in  his  mind.  His  strong  will  and  somewhat  arbitrary 
methods  at  times  ai'oused  opposition  among  his  associate  officers,  and  early 
in  1717  iL  de  la  Epinay  wa.s  appointed  to  succeed  him  as  governor.  Epinay 
arrived  at  ^Mobile  on  I\Iarch  9,  1717,  and  in  June  following,  Cadillac  bade  good-by 
to  America.    Before  the  close  of  that  year  Crozat  surrendered  bis  charter. 

John  Law.  an  English  adventurer,  organized  the  Mississippi  Company,  as 
a  branch  of  the  Bank  of  France,  which  company  succeeded  to  "all  the  rights, 
pi-ivileges  and  emohiments  foi-merly  enjoyed  by  Crozat."  In  1718  Law  sent 
some  eight  hundred  colonists  to  Louisiana  and  the  next  year  Philipe  Renault 
brought  over  about  two  hundred  more.  Renault's  idea  was  to  go  up  the 
^Mississippi  River,  establish  posts  in  the  Illinois  coimtry,  and  open  a  trade  with 
the  Indians.  A  few  years  of  the  wildest  speculation  and  inflation  followed,  but 
in  1720  Law's  whole  scheme  collapsed.  It  is  known  in  history  as  "The  Miss- 
issippi Bubble." 

Cadillac  arrived  in  France  about  the  time  the  ^Mississippi  Company  was 
launched.    His  knowledge  of  the  country  Law  proposed  to  develop,  the  general 


plau  advertised  by  the  company,  and  the  extravagant  promises  made  to  in- 
vestors, all  told  him  that  the  project  was  built  npon  an  insecure  foundation 
and  doomed  to  failure.  He  frankly  expressed  his  opinion  that  the  whole  scheme 
was  a  swindle,  unwoiihy  of  patronage,  and  did  all  he  could  to  warn  the  French 
people  against  investing  their  money  in  such  a  problematical  venture.  Popular 
sentiment  was  in  favor  of  Law,  however,  and  Cadillac  was  arrested.  For  several 
months  he  was  confined  in  the  celebrated  Bastile  in  Paris,  when  he  was  released 
and  was  never  brought  to  trial.  A  year  or  so  later  the  people  learned  by  experi- 
ence that  his  judgment  of  Law  was  well  founded,  and  manj^  of  those  who  lost 
money  by  investing  in  the  company  regretted  they  did  not  heed  his  warning. 


Shortly  after  the  collapse  of  the  Mississippi  Company,  Cadillac  applied  for 
the  governorship  of  Castelsarrasin,  in  the  department  where  he  was  born. 
His  application  was  granted  in  August,  1722.  The  appointment  was  made 
by  Louis  XIV,  who  in  1721,  issued  an  edict  taking  away  from  the  people  of 
municipalities  the  I'ight  to  select  their  own  officers.  On  December  11.  1722, 
Cadillac  was  regularly  commissioned  goveimor  and  mayor.  Thus,  after  having 
spent  the  best  part  of  his  life  amid  the  turmoil  and  strife  of  the  New  World, 
and  having  wandered  all  over  America,  he  returned  to  the  neighborhood  of 
his  birth,  there  to  spend  his  declining  years  in  peace. 

Castelsarrasin,  now  a  town  of  some  eight  or  ten  thousand  inhabitants,  and 
perhaps  quite  as  large  in  Cadillac's  day,  is  located  about  twelve  miles  from 
Montaubau.  In  1722  it  contained  a  castle,  in  which  Cadillac  established  his 
official  residence.  How  long  he  retained  the  office  of  governor  is  not  definitely 
known.  In  1724  the  king  revoked  his  edict  of  1721,  and  some  writers  assert 
that  Cadillac  was  then  retired.  It  is  quite  likely,  however,  that  he  continued 
to  hold  the  office  for  some  time  after  the  revocation  of  the  edict,  as  it  is  well 
known  that  he  remained  a  resident  of  Castelsarrasin  until  his  death  on  October 
16,  1730.  His  remains  were  buried  in  the  cemetery  adjoining  the  Cannelite 
monastery  in  the  town.  At  the  time  of  the  French  Revolution  the  monastery 
was  confiscated  and  converted  into  a  prison.  Some  j-ears  later  the  remains 
of  the  few  persons  of  consequence  buried  in  the  cemetery  were  exhumed  and 
carefully  reinterred  beneath  the  stone  flagging  in  the  rear  of  the  building. 
Here  rest  the  bones  of  Antoine  Laumet,  de  LaMothe  Cadillac,  soldier,  chevalier. 
Knight  of  the  Royal  and  IMilitary  Order  of  St.  Louis,  navigator  and  diplomat. 
During  his  long  and  active  career  he  was  successively  a  merchant  and  trader 
at  Port  Royal,  seigneur  of  Mount  Desert  Island  and  Bar  Harbor,  an  officer 
in  the  French  navy,  commandant  at  Michilimackinac,  founder  and  first  com- 
mandant at  Detroit,  governor  of -Louisiana,  a  prisoner  in  the  Bastile  in  Paris 
because  he  dared  to  give  wise  counsel  to  the  people  of  his  native  land,  and 
governor  of  Castelsarrasin. 


On  Wednesday  morning,  July  24,  1901,  at  the  opening  of  the  Bi-Centenaiy 
exercises  in  Detroit,  a  fitting  tribute  was  paid  to  this  soldier,  scholar  and 
pioneer  by  the  unveiling  of  a  large  stone  chair  at  the  western  end  of  Cadillac 
Square.  This  is  known  as  the  "Cadillac  Chair."  The  inscription  on  the  back 
of  the  chair  is  as  follows: 


"This  chair,  erected  July  24,  1901,  is  located  on  the  site  of  the  City  Hall 
built  in  1S35  and  occupied  until  1871  as  the  seat  of  Civic  Authority. 

"It  is  sjTnbolic  of  the  Seigneurial  Rule  of  Antoine  de  la  Mothe  Cadillac, 
Knight  of  St.  Louis,  who,  with  his  company  of  colonists,  arrived  at  Detroit, 
July  24,  1701. 

"On  that  day,  under  the  patronage  of  Louis  XIV,  and  protected  by  the 
Flag  of  France,  the  City  of  Detroit,  then  called  Fort  Pontchartrain,  was 










While  Cadillac  was  commandant  at  Michilimackinac,  he  learned  through 
the  reports  of  Dollier  and  Galinee  and  Father  Louis  Hennepin  of  the  beauties 
and  advantages  of  the  region  along  the  Detroit  River  and  bent  himself  to  the 
task  of  securing  the  establishment  of  a  post  in  that  part  of  the  country.  Sieur 
Du  L'hut  (Du  Luth)  had  selected  the  site  of  Port  St.  Joseph,  near  the  present 
City  of  Port  Huron,  only  a  short  time  before  Cadillac  went  to  Michilimackinac. 
Wliile  he  recognized  the  importance  of  Du  Luth's  post,  as  well  as  the  one  he 
had  the  honor  to  command,  Cadillac  was  so  favorably  impressed  with  the  De- 
troit River  that  he  wrote  to  Count  Frontenac,  then  governor  of  New  France : 

"However  well  chosen  was  the  position  of  Du  L 'hut's  trading  fort  at  St. 
Joseph,  I  have  in  mind  a  better  site.  Dollier  and  Galinee,  and  later  La 
Salle,  followed  up  this  connecting  chain  of  waters  from  Fort  Frontenac.  They 
found  it  as  richly  set  with  islands  as  is  a  queen's  necklace  with  jewels  and 
the  beautifully  verdant  shores  of  the  mainland  served  to  complete  the  picture 
of  a  veritable  paradise.  Especially  attractive  was  the  region  that  lies  south 
of  the  pearl-like  lake  to  which  they  gave  the  name  of  Ste.  Clair,  and  the  counti-y 
bordering  upon  that  deep,  clear  river,  a  quarter  of  a  lea^ie  broad,  known  as 
Le  Detroit.  I  have  had  from  the  Indians  and  the  coureurs  de  bois  glowing  de- 
scriptions of  this  fair  locality,  and,  while  affecting  to  treat  their  accounts  with 
indifference,  I  made  a  note  of  it  in  my  mind. 

"On  both  sides  of  this  strait  lie  fine,  open  plains  where  the  deer  roam  in 
graceful  herds,  where  bears,  by  no  means  fierce  and  exceedingly  good  to  eat, 
are  to  be  found,  as  are  also  the  savoury  ponies  d'Indies  (wild  duck)  and  other 
varieties  of  game.  The  islands  are  covered  with  trees;  chestnuts,  walnuts,  ap- 
ples and  plums  abound;  and,  in  season,  the  wild  vines  are  heavy  with  grapes, 
of  wliicli  the  forest  rangers  say  they  have  made  a  wine  that,  considering  its 
newness,  was  not  at  aU  bad.  The  Hurons  have  a  village  on  Le  Detroit;  they 
see,  according  to  their  needs,  its  advantages.  Michilimackinac  is  an  important 
post,  but  the  climate  will  ever  be  against  it ;  the  place  will  never  become  a  great 
settlement.  Le  Detroit  is  the  real  center  of  the  lake  country — the  gateway 
to  the  "West.  It  is  from  there  that  we  can  best  hold  the  English  in  check.  I 
would  make  it  a  permanent  post,  not  sub.ject  to  changes  as  are  so  many  of  the 
others.    To  do  this  it  is  but  necessarv  to  have  a  sood  number  of  French  soldiers 


and  traders,  and  to  draw  around  it  the  tribes  of  friendly  Indians,  in  order 
to  conquer  the  Iroquois,  who,  from  the  beginning,  have  harassed  ns  and  pre- 
vented the  advance  of  civilization.  The  French  live  too  far  apart.  ^Ye  must 
bring  them  closer  together,  that,  when  necessary,  thej-  may  be  able  to  oppose 
a  large  force  of  savages  and  thus  defeat  them.  Moreover,  the  waters  of  the 
Great  Lakes  pass  through  this  strait,  and  it  is  the  only  path  whereby  the  English 
can  carry  on  their  trade  with  the  savage  nations  who  have  to  do  with  the  French. 
If  we  establish  ourselves  at  Le  Detroit,  they  can  no  longer  hoj^e  to  deprive  us 
of  the  benefits  of  the  fur  trade." 


Governor  Frontenac  was  inclined  to  favor  Cadillac's  plans,  but  he  died  in 
1698,  before  definite  arrangements  for  tlie  establisliment  of  the  jDost  had  been 
completed.  He  was  succeeded  bj^  Chevalier  de  Callieres,  who  apparently  had 
little  faith  in  Cadillac's  suggestions  and  refused  to  aid  his  project.  Failing  to 
interest  the  new  governor  in  his  cherished  ambition,  Cadillac  resolved  to  go 
to  France  and  lay  the  whole  matter  before  the  king.  He  was  cordially  wel- 
comed by  Louis  XIV,  then  the  occupant  of  the  French  throne,  and  returned 
to  America  anned  with  authority  to  establish  a  post  at  such  point  as  he  might 
select.  His  commission  was  signed  by  Count  Pontchartrain,  the  minister  of 
marine,  and  was  approved  by  the  king.  He  was  allowed  the  sum  of  1,500  livres 
(a  livre  was  about  twenty  cents)  for  the  pur^Dose  of  building  a  fort,  and  was 
granted  subsistence  for  himself,  wife  and  two  children,  and  two  servants.  He 
was  likewise  granted  a  tract  of  land  "fifteen  arpents  square." 

Having  accomplished  the  object  of  his  mission,  Cadillac  returned  to  Amer- 
ica, arriving  at  Quebec  on  March  8,  1701.  After  a  brief  stay  there,  he  went 
on  to  Montreal  to  make  arrangements  for  the  establishment  of  his  post.  LTnder 
the  authority  given  him  by  Count  Pontchartrain,  he  enrolled  100  Frenchmen 
and  a  similar  number  of  friendly  Indians.  Cadillac's  officers  were:  Capt. 
Alphonse  do  Tonty ;  Lieutenants  Chaeoniacle  and  Dugue ;  Sergeant  Jacoli  de 
Marac,  Sieur  de  L'Ommesprou;  Chaplains  Father  Constantine  de  L 'Halle, 
a  Eecollet,  and  Father  Francois  Yalliant,  a  Jesuit.  Francois  and  Jean  Fafard 
also  accompanied  the  expedition  as  Indian  interpreters. 


"With  this  outfit,  Cadillac  left  Jlontrcal  on  June  2,  1701,  for  the  Detroit 
River.  The  scene  of  the  embarkation  is  thus  described  by  Mary  Catherine 
Crowley  in  her  "Daughter  of  New  France,"  as  she  obtained  it  from  old  docu- 
ments in  the  archives  at  Quebec:  "There  in  the  sunshine  were  the  soldiers  in 
tlioir  lilue  coats  with  white  facing;  the  artisans  in  their  blouses;  the  coureurs 
de  bois,  with  leathern  jerkins  brightly  embroidered  witli  porcupine  quills,  red 
caps  set  jauntily  on  their  dark  heads,  and  upon  their  swift  feet  gaudy  Indian 
moccasins;  the  black  robed  Jesuit  and  the  gray  f rocked  RecoUet  missionaries, 
holding  aloft  the  cross  beside  the  banner  of  St.  Louis;  the  officers  resplendent 
in  their  gorgeous  uniforms  and  white  plumed  cavalier  hats.  Cadillac  was  the 
last  one  to  embark.  Stepping  into  his  canoe  he  stood  erect — an  imposing  figure 
in  his  azure  habit  with  its  crimson  sash,  a  scarlet  mantle  thrown  back  from 
his  broad  shoulders,  his  sword  by  his  side,  and  the  breeze  stirring  the  long, 
thick  locks  of  his  blnclc  hair,  as  he  waved  a  last  adieu  to  his  friends  upon  the 


In  writing  her  storj',  Miss  Crowley  doubtless  exercised  the  privilege  of  the 
novelist  and  di'ew  largely  upon  her  imagination.  The  "gorgeous  uniforms" 
and  "white  plumed  cavalier  hats"  of  the  officers,  Cadillac's  "azure  habit  with 
its  crimson  sash"  and  his  "scarlet  mantle"  would  all  have  been  appropriate 
were  they  going  to  visit  the  court  of  some  foreign  monarch.  But  they  were 
going  into  a  wilderness  where  they  would  meet  none  except  savage  Indians, 
and  it  is  far  more  likely  that  Cadillac  and  his  men  all  wore  the  rough  costume 
of  the  voyageur — a  costume  that  would  stand  hard  knocks. 

Among  the  soldiers  was  one  Robert  Chevalier,  called  De  Beauchene,  whose 
adventures  were  written  by  Le  Sage,  author  of  Gil  Bias,  and  published  in  1745. 
This  is  said  to  be  the  first  printed  book  to  mention  Cadillac.  From  the  copy 
in  the  Burton  Collection  De  Beauchene 's  story,  as  told  by  himself,  is  taken. 
Says  he: 

"An  affair  that  I  had  in  that  City  (Montreal),  in  the  middle  of  the  year 
1701,  attached  me  whoU.y  to  my  Algonquins.  The  Fact  was  this:  We,  that  is, 
myself  and  about  a  hundred  Canadians,  undertook  to  escort  Monsieur  de  la 
Mothe  de  Cadillac,  who  waa  sent  with  two  Subaltern  Officers,  near  two  hundred  , 
Leagues  from  Montreal,  to  command  at  the  Streight.  When  we  were  at  the 
Place,  which  is  named  the  Fall  of  China,  because  there  is  a  Water-fall  there, 
upon  the  River  of  St.  Lawrence,  where  they  are  obliged  to  unload  their  Goods, 
Monsieur  de  Cadillac  undertook  to  search  the  canoes,  to  see  if  we  had  not 
brought  more  Brandy  than  was  allowed.  He  discover 'd  more  than  was  lieenc'd 
in  several  of  the  Canoes,  and  immediately  raising  his  voice,  demand 'd  with  a 
magisterial  Air,  whose  it  was ;  one  of  my  Brothers  was  near  him,  who  answered 
him  in  the  same  Tone,  that  it  belonged  to  us  and  that  he  had  no  Authority 
to  find  FaiTlt  with  it. 

"Cadillac  was  a  Gascon,  and  consequently  hot;  he  affronted  my  Brother, 
who  drew  upon  him  immediately;  Cadillac  received  him  like  a  Man  of  Courage 
and  making  him  retreat,  he  was  going  to  disarm  him,  when  throwing  myself 
between  them,  I  push'd  aside  my  Brother  and  took  his  Place,  and  repuls'd  my 
Enemy  so  briskly  that  he  had  no  Occasion  to  be  soi'iy  that  we  were  parted.  He 
is,  I  believe,  still  alive — if  he  dares,  let  him  contradict  me." 

He  then  goes  on  to  tell  how  Cadillac  returned  to  Montreal  to  make  his  com- 
plaints. De  Beauchene  followed  him  and  the  intendant,  Champigny,  gave  him 
a  short  term  in  prison  (three  daj^s),  and  his  brother,  ashamed  of  having  been 
defeated  by  Cadillac,  spent  the  rest  of  his  life  among  the  Indians. 

To  avoid  giving  offense  to  the  tribes  of  the  Five  Nations,  who  were  inclined 
to  resent  any  exploration  or  occiipation  of  the  Indian  country,  the  route  se- 
lected was  up  the  Ottawa  River,  thence  by  way  of  Lake  Nipissing  and  the 
French  and  Pickei-el  rivers  to  the  Georgian  Bay.  Regarding  the  route  fol- 
lowed by  Cadillac,  C.  M.  Burton  says  in  his  "Early  Detroit":  "In  the  sum- 
mer of  1904,  I  went  to  the  eastern  end  of  Lake  Nipissing  and  spent  several 
weeks  in  going  over  the  pathway  of  Cadillac  in  this,  his  first  trip  to  Detroit. 
Passing  through  the  eastern  end  of  this  lake,  we  reached  the  outlet  knowm  as 
French  River.  With  an  Indian  guide  and  birch  bark  canoes,  we  paddled  the 
entire  length  of  French  and  Pickerel  rivers  to  French  River  village,  the  head 
of  navigation.  The  country  today  is  as  wild  and  barren  as  it  was  in  Cadillac's 
time,  and  if  he  could  again  \'isit  this  scene,  there  is  no  doubt  that  the  old  land- 
marks that  guided  him  then  would  again  serve  to  show  him  his  way  through 
this  vast  wilderness  of  water  and  of  rocks.     The  country  is  a  great  desert  of 


rocks — rocks  for  miles  and  miles — no  trees  of  any  size,  and  underbrush  only 
in  the  crevices  of  the  rocks,  where  the  accumulation  of  the  dust  of  ages  has 
been  sufficient  to  sustain  a  little  vegetable  life.  The  river  is  not  a  river,  hut 
a  continuation  of  the  lake.  It  has  very  little  current,  though  it  occasionally 
contracts  into  a  narrower  channel  with  a  waterfall,  around  which  our  boats 
had  to  be  carried.  The  scenery  is  perfecth'  wild  and  the  route  we  took  is  doubt- 
less the  one  used  by  all  travelers  for  the  past  two  hundred  and  tifty  years." 

Upon  reaching  the  Georgian  Bay,  Cadillac's  twent.v-five  canoes  crossed  that 
body  of  water  to  the  strait  connecting  it  with  Lake  Huron,  then  followed  the 
easterly  coast  of  that  lake  to  the  St.  Clair  River,  down  which  they  passed, 
through  Lake  St.  Clair  and  the  Detroit  River  to  the  site  of  Detroit.  Late  on 
the  afternoon  of  July  23,  1701,  the  canoes  passed  the  place  where  the  city  now 
stands  and  that  night  Cadillac  encamped  on  Grosse  He,  sixteen  miles  down  the 
river.  Early  the  next  morning  he  slowly  ascended  the  stream,  carefully  noting 
the  character  of  the  shores,  until  he  reached  a  point  now  about  the  foot  of 
Shelby  Street,  where  the  high  bank  seemed  to  offer  strategic  advantages  for  a 
post.  There  he  landed  and  planted  the  French  standard  at  the  top  of  the  bluff, 
taking  possession  of  the  country  in  the  name  of  Louis  XIV. 


Almost  immediately  after  the  ceremony  of  taking  possession  of  the  terri- 
tory, the  work  of  building  a  storehouse  and  stockade  was  commenced.  A  piece 
of  ground  one  arpent  square  (the  Canadian  arpent  of  that  day  was  192.75 
feet)  was  laid  off  for  the  fort.  While  some  cleared  the  gi-ound  others  cut  trees 
from  six  to  eight  inches  in  diameter  for  the  pickets  to  form  the  stockade.  These 
pickets  were  about  fifteen  feet  long  and  were  sunk  in  the  ground  to  a  depth  of 
three  feet.  The.y  stood  close  together,  thi;s  forming  a  palisade  twelve  feet  high. 
Still  others,  under  the  direction  of  Father  de  L 'Halle,  began  the  building  of 
a  church,  which  was  named  Ste.  Anne,  because  it  was  commenced  on  July  26th 
— Ste.  Anne's  day.  It  was  241/4  by  35  feet,  ten  feet  high  to  the  eaves,  and  was 
provided  with  a  door  and  windows,  though  the  windows  were  without  glass. 
The  door  had  a  lock  and  the  windows  were  provided  with  shutters.  This  church 
was  the  first  building  in  Detroit  to  be  completed. 

Other  buildings  (belonging  to  Cadillac)  inside  the  stockade  were  seven  in 
number,  to  wit :  1.  A  warehouse  22  by  371/2  feet,  8  feet  high,  constructed  of 
thick  oak  planks  split  from  trees  and  smoothed  with  an  adz.  Inside  this  ware- 
house were  a  counter  and  a  press  for  baling  skins,  and  the  door  was  fitted  with 
a  lock  and  key.  2.  A  building  19  by  SSi/o  feet,  built,  like  all  the  others,  by 
placing  posts  in  the  ground.  This  building  was  also  provided  with  a  lock.  3.  A 
•smaller  building  12i/o  by  18  feet,  6%  feet  high.  4.  A  barn  27  by  50  feet,  11 
feet  high.  This  was  evidently  for  storing  crops,  though  Cadillac  later  brought 
three  horses,  only  one  of  which  (Colon)  lived.  5.  A  building  21  by  33  feet, 
formed  of  split  stakes  and  without  a  door.  6.  An  ice  house  15  feet  square, 
6  feet  high  above  ground  and  extending  15  feet  below  the  surface.  7.  An  in- 
ferior building  12  by  16  feet  and  only  5  feet  high.  Other  buildings  were  owned 
by  members  of  the  colony,  all  built  of  logs  set  on  end.  Several  years  elapsed 
before  cabins  were  built  with  the  logs  laid  horizontally.  Concerning  this  work 
Cadillac  wrote:  "All  this  is  no  easy  task,  as  everything  has  to  be  carried  on 
the  shoulders,  for  we  have  no  oxen  or  horse-s  yet  to  draw  loads,  nor  to  plough, 
and  to  accomplish  it,  it  is  necessary  to  be  very  active." 



Scarcely  had  Cadillac  laid  the  foundations  of  Michigan's  future  metropolis, 
■ — and  while  he  was  encouraged  and  buoyed  up  by  the  bright  prospects  for  the 
future, — when  a  cloud  appeared  above  the  horizon.  For  some  years  the  mer- 
chants of  Quebec  and  Montreal  had  been  engaged  in  the  fur  trade  in  a  limited 
way.  Their  method  was  to  employ  voyageurs  to  fit  out  expeditions  and  trans- 
port in  canoes,  to  the  Indian  eountrj^  about  the  upper  lakes,  goods  to  exchange 
for  peltries.  About  the  close  of  the  Seventeenth  Century  a  company  was  formed 
to  conduct  this  trade  on  a  larger  scale.  Authentic  information  relative  to  this 
company  is  so  scarce  that  it  is  difSeult  to  ascertain  just  what  rights  it  was 
granted,  or  who  composed  it.  Enough  has  been  learned,  however,  to  state  with 
certainty  that  on  October  3,  1699,  some  of  the  leading  citizens  of  Quebec 
(among  whom  was  Cadillac)  sent  a  deputation  composed  of  Anteuil,  Juchereau 
and  Pacaud  to  Versailles  to  solicit  from  the  king  the  privilege  of  organizing  a 
company  to  have  general  charge  of  the  beaver  trade  of  Canada.  (The  beaver 
trade  included  aU  furs.) 

That  some  effort  to  organize  a  company  at  that  time  was  made  is  borne  out 
by  a  letter  written  some  j-ears  later  (October  21,  1726),  by  Claude  Thomas 
Dupuy,  then  intendant  of  Canada,  in  which  he  says:  "M.  de  la  Mothe  was 
placed  at  Detroit  as  commandant  in  the  year  1700,  when  this  post  was  estab- 
lished. The  old  Beaver  Companj-,  which  had  established  the  post,  gave  it  up 
to  the  new  company,  which  was  unable  to  keep  it  up,  and  Sieur  de  la  Mothe 
asked  for  it  with  the  monopoly  of  the  trade  and  the  other  conditions  the  com- 
pany had." 

Not  long  after  Cadillac  left  Quebec  on  June  2,  1701,  for  the  Detroit  River, 
a  treaty  of  peace  was  made  with  the  Iroquois,  which  opened  a  more  direct 
route  between  Fort  Frontenac  and  Detroit  by  way  of  Lake  Erie.  It  is  quite 
probable  that  this  treaty  revived  the  idea  of  organizing  a  company,  as  goods 
could  now  be  transported  without  encountering  the  troublesome  portages  of 
the  Ottawa  River  I'oute.  But  Cadillac  had  been  granted  the  exclusive  right 
to  trade  with  the  Indians  at  Detroit  and  was  taking  steps  to  settle  them  near 
the  post,  where  they  would  be  under  his  domination.  To  break  his  power,  a 
company  called  the  "Company  of  the  Colony  of  Canada"  was  formed  and 
influences  set  to  work  to  undermine  his  standing  with  King  Louis  XIV.  If 
this  hj'pothesis  a.s  to  the  formation  of  the  new  company  is  correct,  it  follows 
that  at  the  time  Cadillac  founded  the  post  there  was  no  company  in  charge 
of  the  new  colony,  and  he  was  justified  in  considering  himself  the  exclusive 
owner  of  the  post  and  of  its  trade. 

It  seems  that  Governor-General  Callieres  had  conceived  a  personal  dislike 
for  Cadillac  and,  as  the  representative  of  the  French  Government  in  Canada, 
encourage  the  formation  of  the  company,  with  the  exclusive  right  to  trade  at 
Fort  Frontenac  and  Detroit,  taking  from  Cadillac  the  powers  given  him  by 
the  king's  commission.  By  intrigue  the  consent  of  Louis  XIV  was  gained  and 
the  contract  with  the  company  was  concluded  at  Quebec  on  October  31,  1701. 
On  the  same  day  the  intendant  wrote  to  Count  Pontchartrain : 

"You  will  see  from  the  agreement  I  have  made  with  the  Companj-  of  the 
Colony,  on  putting  it  in  possession  of  the  forts  of  Frontenac  and  Detroit,  that 
I  have  been  obliged  to  advance  large  sums  without  being  able  to  obtain  pay- 
ment until  next  year,  in  letters  of  exchange  and  furs,  which  will  have  to  be 
sent  to  France  to  be  sold,  and  this  will  delay  the  repayment  for  two  years. 


Therefore  I  most  hnmlily  hog  yon,  My  Lord,  to  take  this  into  aeoonnt  to  some 
extent,  by  granting  ns  sneh  increase  in  fnuds  as  you  may  think  fit,  having 
regard  to  tlie  extraordinary  disbursements  we  have  been  obliged  to  make  both 
for  the  ratification  of  peace  with  tlie  Iroquois  and  for  the  enterprise  at  Detroit, 
and  for  the  fortification  at  Quebec,  as  you  know  from  the  statements  which  1 
have  sent  to  you. 

' '  CiiAMPiGxv,  Intendant. ' ' 

As  the  Company  of  the  Colony  was  destined  to  play  a  conspicuous  part  in 
the  discomfiture  of  Cadillac,  the  principal  features  of  the  contract  entered  into 
by  its  directors  and  the  Canadian  officials  are  here  given,  taken  from  Leake's 
History  of  Detroit  (p.  13)  : 

"The  following  articles  of  agreement  have  been  made  between  the  governor- 
general  and  intendant  on  the  one  part,  and  Messrs.  d'Auteuil,  iDrocureur-general 
of  the  King  in  the  sovereign  council  of  this  country,  Lotbiniere,  lieutenant- 
general  of  this  City  of  Quebec,  Irazeur,  Gobin,  Macart  and  Pierese,  gentlemen, 
merchants  of  this  City  of  Quebec,  all  directors-general  of  the  said  company,  on 
the  other  part. 

"1.  Be  it  known,  that  the  governor-general  and  intendant,  in  consequence 
of  the  express  orders  which  they  have  this  year  received  from  the  King,  do, 
by  these  j^resents  and  acceptances,  in  the  name  of  His  Majesty,  cede  and  convey 
to  the  directors  of  said  Company  of  the  Colony  the  posts  of  Detroit  and  Fort 
Froutenac,  giving  into  the  possession  of  said  Company  of  the  Colony,  from  this 
day  forth,  the  said  posts  in  the  state  in  which  they  now  are  for  their  use,  to 
traffic  in  furs,  to  the  exchision  of  all  other  inhabitants  of  said  country,  so  long 
as  it  shall  please  His  Majesty. 

"2.  It  shall  be  the  duty  of  said  Company  to  complete  the  construction  of 
said  fort  at  Detroit,  and  the  buildings  properly  belonging  thereto;  and  the 
Company  shall  in  future  keep  said  buildings  and  fort  in  good  repair,  that  they 
may  be  rendered  in  the  same  state  they  are  now,  and  better,  if  possible,  when- 
ever His  Majesty  shall  judge  proper  to  receive  them,  if  in  the  course  of  time 
he  so  order. 

"3.  The  Company  of  the  Colony  is  also  to  take  charge  of  the  goods  which 
have  been  sent  to  said  place,  obeying  the  conditions  that  have  been  agreed 
upon — Messrs.  Radisson  and  Arnault  to  be  overseers  of  the  storehouse  of  said 
goods  which  the  intendant  has  placed  in  the  hands  of  the  directors  of  the  Com- 
pany. They  are  also  to  have  charge  of  the  other  advances  made  by  the  King 
for  this  establishment,  and  to  make  pajTuent  for  said  goods  and  advances  to 
the  intendant  from  the  first  bills  which  shall  be  returned  from  Detroit,  and  in 
case  said  bills  should  not  be  sufficient,  on  the  first  of  October,  1702,  the  said 
overseers  shall  give  bills  of  exchange  for  the  remainder,  which  shall  be  drawn 
upon  the  directors  and  commissionei's  of  said  Company  in  Paris,  payable  to 
the  sureties  and  overseers  of  the  storehouse,  for  the  piirpose  of  liquidating  the 
claims  against  said  Company,  conformably  to  the  agreement  made  with  the 
said  Lord-Lieutenant. 

"4.  It  is  also  agreed  that  the  King  shall  support,  at  his  expense,  the  gar- 
rison which  the  governor  shall  order  for  the  protection  of  said  fort  of  Detroit, 
and  that  the  commandant  and  one  other  officer  only,  shall  be  maintained  by 
the  Company, 

"5.     The  said  commandant  and  soldiers  shall  not  make  any  trade  for  furs 


with  the  savages  nor  French,  directh-  nor  indirectly,  on  any  pretext  whatever, 
under  pain  of  confiscation  of  the  said  furs,  and  other  piinishment  prescrilied 
by  the  King." 

Cadillac  knew  nothing  of  all  this  nutil  July  IS,  1702,  when  Arnault  and 
Radisson  arrived  at  Detroit  to  take  charge  of  affairs.  They  presented  him  with 
a  copy  of  the  contract  and  showed  their  credentials  as  overseers.  The  informa- 
tion came  like  the  proverbial  clap  of  thunder  from  a  clear  sky-.  On  July  21, 
1702,  Cadillac  left  Detroit  for  Quebec,  hoping  to  secure  some  modification  of 
the  contract  with  the  company,  or,  failing  in  that,  to  make  terms  with  the 
directors  that  would  give  him  partial  control  of  the  post,  at  least.  Under  date 
of  September  25,  1702,  he  wrote  from  Quebec  to  Count  Pontchartrain,  giving 
the  following  account  of  what  had  been  accomplished  at  Detroit : 

"After  the  fort  was  built,  and  the  dwellings,  I  had  the  land  cleared  there 
and  some  French  wheat  sown  on  the  7th  of  October,  not  having  had  time  to 
prepare  it  well.  This  wheat,  although  sown  hastily,  came  up  very  fine  and  was 
cut  on  the  21st  of  July.  I  also  had  some  sown  in  the  spring,  as  is  done  in 
Canada;  it  came  up  well  enough,  but  not  like  that  of  the  autiunn.  The  land 
having  thus  shown  its  quality,  and  taught  me  that  the  French  tillage  must  be 
followed,  I  left  orders  with  il.  de  Tonty  to  take  care  to  begin  the  sowing  about 
the  20th  of  September  and  I  left  him  twenty  arpents  of  land  prepared.  I  have 
no  doubt  he  has  increased  it  somewhat  since  my  departure.  I  also  had  twelve 
arpents  or  more  sown  this  spi-ing,  in  the  month  of  May,  with  Indian  corn  which 
came  up  eight  feet  high ;  it  will  have  been  harvested  about  the  20th  of  August 
and  I  hope  there  will  be  a  good  deal  of  it.  All  the  soldiers  have  their  own 
dwellings. ' ' 

Then,  after  giving  a  detailed  account  of  his  building  a  boat,  establishing  a 
vineyard  for  the  cultivation  of  wild  gi-ape  vines,  and  some  other  matters,  he 
continues:  "All  that  I  have  had  the  honor  to  state  to  you  has  been  done  in 
one  year,  without  it  having  cost  the  King  a  sou,  and  without  costing  the  com- 
pany a  double ;  and  in  twelve  months  we  have  put  ourselves  in  a  position  to  do 
without  provisions  from  Canada  forever ;  and  all  this  undertaking  was  carried 
out  with  three  months'  provisions,  which  I  took  when  I  set  out  from  Montreal, 
and  which  were  consumed  in  the  course  of  the  journey.  This  proves  whether 
Detroit  is  a  desirable  or  an  undesirable  country.  Besides  this,  nearly  six  thou- 
sands mouths  of  different  tribes  wintered  there,  as  every  one  knows.  All  these 
proofs,  convincing  as  they  are,  cannot  silence  the  enemies  of  my  scheme ;  but 
they  do  begin  to  grow  feeble  and  to  diminish  in  violence.  It  may  be  said  that 
nothing  more  remains  to  them,  good  or  bad,  but  their  tongues. 

"There  are  at  Detroit  a  good  fort,  good  dwellings  and  the  means  of  living 
and  subsisting.  There  are  three  villages  of  the  savages;  the  rest  will  very  soon 
come  there.  They  are  waiting  to  see  whether  what  was  promised  them  is  being 
carried  out.  It  is  for  you  to  push  this  matter  about  the  inhabitants  (that  de- 
serves our  attention  on  account  of  the  war)  and  to  consider  whether  you  will 
allow  the  inhabitants  of  Canada  to  settle  there;  to  form  a  seminary  to  begin 
to  instruct  the  savage  children  in  piety  and  in  the  French  languag:e ;  to  allow 
the  Recollets  to  settle  there  in  order  to  discharge  their  functions." 

Unable  to  have  the  agreement  with  the  company  altered  to  any  appreciable 
extent,  Cadillac  returned  to  Detroit.  Upon  his  arrival  there  on  November  6, 
1702,  he  found  that  the  overseers  had  conducted  matters  in  such  a  manner  as 
to  incur  the  displeasure  of  the  Indians.    It  had  been  Cadillac's  custom  to  treat 


his  red  brethren  as  though  he  had  implicit  confidenee  in  their  honesty,  allowing 
them  the  freedom  of  the  fort  during  the  day.  As  soon  as  he  left  for  Quebec 
in  July,  Radisson  and  Arnault  ordered  the  warehouse,  in  which  the  goods  were 
stored,  to  be  kept  locked,  and  in  other  ways  (particularly  in  the  distribution  of 
brandy)  treated  the  Indians  with  so  much  insolence  that  many  of  them  were 
about  ready  to  desert  the  post.  Cadillac  did  all  he  could  to  pacify  his  Indian 
friends,  who  liked  him  pei*sonally,  but  his  influence  among  them  was  weakened 
when  they  saw  he  was  subordinate  to  the  despised  overseers. 


While  the  company  was  in  charge  of  the  post,  Cadillac  remained  as  com- 
mandant on  a  salarj^  of  2,000  livres  per  year,  and  was  not  recjuired  to  bear 
any  part  of  the  expense  of  maintaining  the  garrison.  Under  this  arrangement 
he  was  not  shorn  of  his  powers,  always  went  about  in  military  costume,  with  his 
sword  by  his  side,  soldiers  saluting  him  and  ci^^lians  removing  their  hats  as  he 
passed.  But  he  was  almost  constantly  involved  in  quarrels  with  the  representa- 
tives and  employees  of  the  company.  On  one  occasion  a  clerk  named  Desnoyers 
became  rather  saucy  and  Cadillac  ordered  him  to  be  imprisoned  for  two  hours. 
Upon  being  released,  he  immediately  began  making  preparations  to  desert  his 
post  and  return  to  Montreal,  when  he  was  again  thrown  into  prison  by  the 
commandant's  orders.  In  his  defense  before  Count  Pontchartrain,  when  asked 
why  Desnoj'crs  had  been  so  treated,  Cadillac  said : 

"I  did  so  because  it  is  laid  down  in  my  orders  that  nobody,  officer  or 
otherwise,  is  to  set  out  from  Detroit  without  my  permission ;  yet  the  clerk, 
Desnoyers,  to  continue  his  disobedience,  had  his  boat  put  in  the  water  and 
loaded  for  Montreal  (as  he  says)  without  speaking  of  it  to  me  or  sa.ying 
anything  to  me  about  it,  claiming  always  that  he  was  not  subordinate  to 
me.     *     *     * 

"As  to  my  powers,  thej'  are  very  ample,  being  to  punish  according  to  cir- 
cumstances, by  reprimands,  by  arrests,  by  imprisonment  or  by  deprivation  of 
civil  rights;  and  in  case  of  distinct  disobedience,  to  run  my  sword  through  any 
one  who  has  offended  against  me." 

Although  it  was  stipulated  in  the  articles  of  agreement  with  the  company 
that  the  king  would  support  the  garrison,  in  the  fall  of  1703  the  soldiers  were 
so  poorly  paid  that  nine  of  them  deserted.  They  returned  after  a  short  absence 
and  were  pardoned  by  Cadillac.  About  the  same  time  Cadillac  learned  that 
his  captain,  Tontj',  had  entered  into  a  plot  with  the  Jesuits  of  Michilimackinac 
to  cripple  Detroit  by  encouraging  the  establishment  of  a  new  post  at  St.  Joseph 
on  Lake  Michigan.  When  confronted  w-ith  the  evidence  of  the  conspiracy, 
Tonty,  it  is  said,  admitted  the  truth  and  was  likewise  pardoned,  on  promise  of 
good  behavior.  These  pardons  indicate  that  Cadillac  was  not  always  unduly 
severe  in  his  administration  of  affairs. 

Notwithstanding  Tonty 's  promise  of  good  behavior,  he  was  soon  engaged  in 
another  scheme.  Cadillac  detected  him  and  one  of  the  company's  commis- 
sioners in  the  embezzlement  of  goods  belonging  to  the  company,  for  the  pur- 
pose of  cari-ying  on  an  illicit  trade  in  furs.  The  furs  they  had  collected  were  con- 
fiscated and  charges  against  the  offenders  were  forwarded  to  the  Marquis  de 
Vaudreuil,  the  governor-general.  The  commissioner  was  a  relative  of  Vaudreuil 
and  an  intimate  friend  of  some  of  the  directors  of  the  company,  who  preferred 
countercharges  against  Cadillac,  and  in  the  fall  of  1704  he  was  summoned  to 


appear  before  the  governor  and  intendant  for  trial.  He  was  acquitted,  but  was 
not  allowed  to  retuni  to  Detroit.  Cadillac  then  appealed  to  the  colonial  min- 
ister at  Paris  and  received  instructions  while  still  at  Quebec  to  present  his 
ease  to  Count  Pontchartrain.  Vaudreuil  then  gave  him  permission  to  return 
to  Detroit,  but  Cadillac  wanted  a  complete  vindication.  After  a  patient  hear- 
ing. Count  Pontchartrain  annovmced  himself  as  satisfied  that  Cadillac  had  done 
"all  that  could  be  expected  of  a  faithful  ofScer  and  an  honest  man,"  and 
promised  that  the  annoyances  to  which  he  had  been  subjected  .should  be  stopped. 

On  June  14,  1705,  the  company  executed  an  agreement  to  restore  to  Cadillac 
the  post  of  Detroit  and  all  its  appurtenances.  In  accordance  with  this  agree- 
ment, the  property  was  to  be  invoiced  in  the  presence  of  M.  de  Tonty,  Father 
de  L 'Halle  and  the  company's  clerks,  Cadillac  to  pay  for  the  merchandise  in 
money  or  bills  of  exchange;  that  Coimt  Pontchartrain  was  to  decide  whether 
Cadillac  should  pay  for  the  buildings  erected  by  the  company;  that  the  new 
proprietor  was  to  supply  the  company  with  beaver  skins  not  amounting  in 
value  to  more  than  twenty  thousand  livres  per  year;  that  he  was  not  to  trade 
at  any  point  on  the  lakes  outside  of  Detroit;  and  that  the  company  should  have 
the  privilege  of  sending  an  inspector  to  see  if  that  feature  of  the  agreement 
was  being  infringed.  In  addition,  CadiUae  was  to  defray  the  entire  expense 
of  maintaining  the  post,  except  a  portion  of  the  priest's  salary,  which  was  to 
be  paid  by  the  inhabitants. 

Cadillac's  victory  was  only  temporary.  Count  Pontchartrain  was  unable 
to  keep  his  promise  that  the  annoyances  should  be  brought  to  an  end  and  the 
intriguing  went  on.  The  company  did  not  want  Detroit  to  be  colonized,  while 
Cadillac's  ambition  was  to  build  \ip  a  permanent  colony.  To  this  end  he  had 
caused  a  number  of  Indian  bands  to  locate  near  the  fort.  The  Huron  village 
was  a  short  distance  down  the  river,  in  the  opposite  direction  were  four  bands 
of  the  Ottawa  and  a  Miami  settlement,  and  the  Wolf  Indians  occupied  the  land 
known  as  the  "King's  Commons."  He  also  offered  inducements  to  Canadians 
to  settle  near  the  post  and  encouraged  unmarried  soldiers  to  take  Indian  wives. 
Under  his  liberal  policy,  it  is  said  that  within  eight  months  after  he  landed  at 
Detroit,  his  settlement  promised  to  become  a  rival  of  Montreal  or  Quebec. 
After  more  than  four  years  of  bickerings,  his  enemies  succeeded  in  having  him 
removed.  In  the  spring  of  1710  he  was  appointed  governor  of  Louisiana.  So 
many  of  his  friends  left  at  the  same  time  that  the  town  was  practicallj-  de- 
serted, though  the  original  stockade  had  been  previoasly  enlarged  to  accom- 
modate the  gi-owing  population.  To  make  matters  worse  for  Cadillac,  his  suc- 
cessor took  all  his  property  and  refused  to  account  for  it.  The  value  of  this 
property,  as  shown  by  an  inventory  taken  in  April,  1720,  was  as  follows : 

400  arpents  of  land  at  100  francs 40,000.00 

Loss  of  same  for  ten  years  at  6  francs  per  year 24,000.00 

1  warehouse    3,000.00 

House  of  M.  de  LaMothe   2.500.00 

2  other  houses 1,500.00 

1  barn,  etc 1,200.00 

1  stable    500.00 

1  dove  cot   400.00 

1  ice  house   300.00 

Chapel  and  house  of  almoner 3.000.00 


1  mill   8,000.00 

29  horned  cattle  and  1  horse   9.000.00 

Loss  of  mill  at  1,000  francs  per  year   10.000.00 

For  29  horned  cattle  which  shonld  have  been  tired  dur- 
ing- the  10  years   9,000.00 

Furniture,  grain,  tiour,  tools,  etc 7,000.00 

Premium  on  same  at  4  per  cent   2,800.00 

Due  for  King's  service  &  care  of  sick 4.331.73 

Total 126,531.73 

The  loss  of  this  property,  valued  at  126,531  francs  (or  livres),  7  sous  and 
3  deniers,  -nas  a  .severe  one  to  a  man  who  had  spent  ten  of  the  best  years  of  his 
life  in  building  up  a  colony  in  the  wilderness  of  North  America,  hoping  thereby 
to  uphoM  the  honor  of  his  king  and  enrich  himself, 


Cadillac  was  reared  a  Catholic  and  in  his  religious  faith  and  practices  was 
decidedly  partial  to  the  Franciscan  order.  "While  commandant  at  Michilimack- 
inae,  he  became  embroiled  with  the  Jesuit  missionaries  over  the  sale  of  brandy 
to  the  Indians.  The  competition  between  the  French  and  English  for  the  con- 
trol of  the  fur  trade  was  then  at  its  height.  As  the  English  traders  were  per- 
mitted to  sell  intoxicating  liquors  to  the  natives  iu  unlimited  cjuantities,  the 
French  claimed  that  it  was  necessary  for  them  to  pursue  the  same  policy,  in 
order  to  prevent  their  rivals  from  obtaining  a  monopoly  of  the  trade.  The 
Jesuits  protested  against  the  custom,  and,  knowing  the  commandant  to  be  iu 
sympathy  with  the  Franciscans,  tried  to  place  all  the  blame  on  him,  hoping  to 
have  him  removed  and  a  commandant  more  friendly  to  their  order  appointed. 
Cadillac  had  been  at  ilichiliraackinac  but  a  few  month.?  when  the  Jesuits  scored 
a  victory  by  having  the  transportation  of  brandy  to  the  post  prohibited. 

On  ilarch  21,  1795,  a  deputation  of  Indians  and  French  traders  called  on 
■  Cadillac  to  remonstrate  against  the  prohibition.  One  of  the  chiefs  reminded 
him  that  former  commandants  had  not  been  so  severe  upon  them,  and  said: 
"If  we  are  your  friends,  give  us  the  liberty  of  drinking.  Our  beaver  is  worth 
your  brandy  and  the  Great  Spirit  gave  us  both  to  make  us  happy.  If  you  wish 
to  treat  us  as  your  enemies,  or  as  slaves,  do  not  be  angiy  if  we  carry  our  beaver 
to  Orange  or  Cortland  (English  trading  posts),  where  they  will  give  us  rum; 
as  much  of  it  as  we  want." 

After  this  incident,  Cadillac  wrote  to  a  friend  in  Quebec  that  the  Jesuits 
had  acted  in  bad  faith  and  made  misrepresentations  to  secure  the  order  pro- 
hibiting the  shipment  of  brandy  to  the  post.  With  him  the  interests  of  the 
king  and  the  French  traders  were  paramount  and  he  refused  to  obey  the  order. 
By  doing  so  he  made  a  bitter  and  lasting  enemy  of  Father  Etienne  de  Carhcil, 
the  Jesuit  priest  at  the  post. 

Cadillac's  idea,  in  establishing  the  post  of  Detroit,  was  to  make  it  sufficiently 
powerful  to  cheek  the  aggi-es.sive  campaign  of  the  English  for  the  trade  of  the 
Indians  of  the  upper  lake  country.  His  plan  was  to  induce  the  Indians  to 
settle  near  the  post,  teach  them  the  French  language,  and  thus  make  it  possible 
to  bring  about  an  alliance  for  their  mutual  protection.  To  accomplish  this  he 
made  the  right  to  supply  the  Indiams  with  liquor  one  of  the  principal  pro- 
visions of  his  commission.     He  well  knew  that  the  adoption  of  such  a  policy, 


and  liis  open  preference  for  the  Recollet  priests,  -n-oiJcl  still  further  alienate 
the  Jesuits,  especially  when  they  should  learn  that  it  was  his  determination 
not  to  permit  them  to  control  the  religious  affairs  of  the  post.  He  anticipated, 
but  did  not  fear,  the  opposition  of  Father  Carheil,  the  ^Montreal  traders  and 
Governor  Callieres,  who  was  an  ardent  supporter  of  the  Jesuits,  all  of  whom 
realized  that  the  settlement  of  the  Indians  near  Fort  Pontchartrain,  where 
they  could  easily  obtain  liquor,  would  draw  a  large  part  of  the  trade  away  from 

Although  a  stanch  friend  of  the  Franciscan  order,  Cadillac  was  not  in- 
tolerant. As  already  stated,  when  he  left  Montreal  on  June  2,  1701,  Father 
Valliant,  a  Jesuit  priest,  was  one  of  his  company.  On  the  way  to  the  Detroit 
River,  Cadillac  noticed  a  discontent  among  the  men  and  traced  it  to  rumors 
that  they  woidd  not  be  paid  for  their  services,  that  they  would  not  be  per- 
mitted to  bring  their  wives  to  Detroit,  or  to  visit  their  families  in  Montreal,  etc. 
It  had  been  settled  before  starting  that  Father  Valliant  was  to  go  as  a  mis- 
sionary to  the  Indians,  and  that  his  colleague.  Father  de  L 'Halle,  was  to  be 
the  priest  and  almoner  of  the  post.  Cadillac  knew  that  Father  Valliant  wanted 
to  be  superior  to  Father  de  L 'Halle,  and  suspected  him  with  being  the  author 
of  the  rumors.  Soon  after  landing  at  Detroit,  he  called  the  men  together,  told 
them  frankly  that  he  had  observed  their  discontent  and  inquired  the  cause. 
Father  Valliant,  seeing  that  a  day  of  reckoning  was  at  hand,  and  that  he  was 
likely  to  be  placed  on  record,  hastily  departed,  without  waiting  for  permission 
or  an  escort,  and  went  to  Michilimackinac.  After  his  departure  no  Jesuit  offi- 
ciated at  Detroit  for  several  years. 

The  absence  of  the  Jesuits  did  not  prevent  them  from  engaging  in  intrigues 
and  doing  many  things  to  harass  Cadillac  and  retard  the  growth  of  Detroit. 
Under  date  of  August  31,  1703,  Cadillac  wrote  to  Count  Pontchartrain  as 
follows : 

"You  were  good  enough  to  write  to  me  that  the  King  wishes  the  missions 
of  Detroit  to  be  administered  by  the  Jesuit  fathers,  and  that  their  Superior  at 
Quebec  would  grant  me  some  who  would  be  more  in  sympathy  with  me  than 
Father  Valliant  had  been.  It  would  appear  that  j'our  orders  were  sufficient 
to  induce  this  Superior  to  provide  for  that  mission  promptly,  especially  after 
the  special  favor  you  have  done  him  by  approving  of  Father  Valliant  remain- 
ing in  this  country,  after  having  opposed  the  will  of  His  Majesty  as  he  has  done. 

"The  arrangement  made  by  M.  de  Callieres  also  seemed  to  compel  him, 
absolutely,  to  have  the  mission  provided  for,  as  is  clearly  explained  therein. 
Yet  you  will  see  that,  up  to  the  present,  the  Jesuits  have  done  nothing  to  carry 
out  His  Majesty's  intentions,  which  you  explained  clearly  both  to  M.  de  Callieres 
and  to  their  Superior  at  Quebec,  with  which  you  were  pleased  to  acquaint  me. 

"I  do  not  know  whether  they  have  sent  you  word  that  it  was  agreed,  in 
consequence  of  the  arrangement  which  had  been  made,  that  the  Company  of 
the  Colony  should  pay  to  each  missionary  of  Detroit  the  sum  of  800  livres  a 
year ;  that  it  would  haye  the  things  they  would  want  for  their  food  and  cloth- 
ing necessary  for  their  use,  brought  for  them  at  its  cost  and  expense ;  and  that 
it  would  get  dwellings  for  them  in  the  villages  of  the  savages  until  there  was 
time  to  build  them  more  conveniently.  I  have  carried  out,  for  my  part,  the  ar- 
rangements which  have  been  made;  the  Company  has  carried  them  out  on  its 
side,  having  this  spring  (in  accordance  with  the  agreement)  sent  a  boat  on 
purpose  for  Father  Marest,  Superior  of  ilissilimakinak,  who  feigned  important 


reasons  for  not  coming  here,  so  the  Company  has  incurred  that  expense  in  vain, 
as  it  had  already  done  regarding  Father  Valliant. 

"You  wish  me  to  be  friendly  with  the  Jesuits  and  not  to  pain  them.  Having 
thought  it  well  over,  I  have  only  found  three  ways  of  succeeding  in  that.  The 
first  is  to  let  them  do  as  they  like ;  the  second  to  do  evein-thiug  they  wish ;  the 
third,  to  say  nothing  about  what  they  do.  By  letting  them  do  as  they  like, 
the  savages  would  not  settle  at  Detroit  and  would  not  be  settled  there;  to  do 
as  they  wish,  it  is  neces.sary  to  cause  the  downfall  of  this  post;  and  to  say 
nothing  about  what  they  do,  it  is  necessary  to  do  what  I  am  doing;  and  (yet) 
in  spite  of  this  last  essential  point,  I  still  cannot  induce  them  to  be  my  friends." 

To  just  what  extent  the  antipathy  of  the  Jesuit  fathers  was  responsible  for 
the  iiltimate  defeat  of  Cadillac's  plans  at  Detroit  would  be  difficult  to  deter- 
mine. Persons  who  engage  in  conspiracy  or  factional  intrigue  do  not  keep  an 
open  record  of  their  deeds.  That  they  connived  with  the  merchants  of  Mon- 
treal and  others  for  his  downfall  is  certain,  though  it  took  them  nearly  ten 
years  to  accomplish  their  purpose.  It  is  equally  certain  that  none  rejoiced 
more  upon  his  final  removal,  to  which  they  had  contributed. 


On  June  14,  1704,  Count  Pontchartrain  wrote  to  Cadillac,  advising  him  of 
a  decree  giving  him  authority  to  make  conveyances  of  the  lands  in  and  around 
the  village,  though  some  of  the  lots  and  lands  had  been  taken  prior  to  that 
time  by  some  sort  of  an  agreement,  the  exact  nature  of  which  is  not  known. 
The  lots  inside  the  fort  were  small — about  20  by  25  feet, — though  a  few  were 
larger.  The  houses  occupied  by  the  soldiers  belonged  to  the  commandant,  but 
the  civilians  owned  their  homes.  At  the  time  the  authority  was  granted  by 
the  king  to  make  conveyances,  Cadillac  was  in  the  midst  of  his  litigation  with 
the  Company  of  the  Colonj-  and  no  lots  were  conveyed  to  indi\'iduals  until  in 
March,  1707.  Between  that  time  and  June  28,  1710,  sixty-eight  lots  in  the 
village  were  granted  to  private  citizens.  He  also  granted  a  number  of  tracts 
for  agricultural  purposes,  which  are  known  as  the  "French  Farms"  or  "Private 
Claims,"  and  which  are  further  described  in  Chapter  XX  of  this  work.  The 
complete  description  of  all  of  Cadillac's  grants  in  the  village,  along  the  river 
and  in  the  "gardens"  is  published  in  Volume  33,  pp.  373-82,  of  the  Michigan 
Pioneer  and  Historical  Society  Collections.  The  follo^x-ing  list  gives  the  num- 
ber of  each  lot  granted  within  the  village  and  the  name  of  the  person  receiving 
it  from  Cadillac: 

1.  Pierre  Chesne  13.  Pierre  Hemard 

2.  Andre  Chouet  14.  Antoine  Dupuis  dit  Beauregard 

3.  Pierre  Faverau  (lit  LeGrandeur         15.  Jacques  L'Anglois 

4.  Joscpli  Despre  16.  Guillaume  Bovet  (lit  Deliard 

5.  Salomon  Joseph  Du  Vestiu  17.  Michael  Masse 

6.  Pierre  Leger  (lit  Parisien  18.  IMichel  Campo 

7.  Bonnaventure  Compien  (lit  19.  Louis  Xoj'mand 

L'Esperance  20.     Francois  Tesee 

8.  Jacob  de  IMai-sac  (lit  Desrocher  21.     Pierre  Chant elon 

9.  31.  D'Argenteuil  22.     Francois  Bienvenu  dit  de  L'Isle 

10.  Jean  Richard  23.     Pierre  Esteve 

11.  Jean  Labatier  dit  Champagne  24.     Blaise  Surgere 

12.  Estienne  Bontran  25.     Pierre  Poirier 




Aiitoine  Ferron 

Pierre  Tacet 

Francois  Fafard  de  Lorme 

Michel  Dizier  (Disier) 

Jacob  de  Marsac 

• Rencontre 



Jacques  Du  Moulin 
Guilleaume  Aguet 
Louis  Gastineau 
Joseph  Parent 
Martin  Sirier 


M.  Derance 

Du  Figuier 

La  Montagne 

Pierre  Mallet 
Antoine  Dufresne 
Jean  Baptiste  Chomic 
Jean  Casse 
Paul  L'Anglois 

48.  Jerome  ilarliard 

49.  Andre  Bombardie 

50.  Pierre  Du  Roy 

51.  Pierre  Roy 

52.  Francois  Margue 

53.  Antoine  Magnant 

54.  Francois  Bonne 

55.  Touissaints  Dardennes 

56.  Pierre  Bassinet 

57.  Francois  Brunct 

58.  Antoine  Beauregard 

59.  Marie  Le  Page 

60.  Jacques  Campo 

61.  Jean  Serond 

62.  Pierre  Robert 

63.  L'Arramee 

64.  Rene  Le  Moine 

65.  Jacques  Le  Moine 

66.  Paul  Guillet 

67.  Joseph  Rinaud 

68.  Antoine  Tuffe  dit  du  Fresne 

Lot  No.  59,  conveyed  to  Marie  Le  Page,  is  the  only  record  of  a  conveyance 
to  a  woman  in  early  Detroit.  As  an  example  of  how  Louis  XIV  conducted 
colonial  affairs,  in  1716,  after  Cadillac  had  left  to  become  governor  of  Louisiana, 
all  grants  were  annulled  by  royal  edict  and  the  titles  reverted  to  the  king. 


In  September,  1701,  Madame  Cadillac  and  Madame  de  Tonty  left  Quebec 
for  Fort  Frontenac,  intending  to  join  their  husbands  at  Detroit  the  following 
spring,  as  soon  as  it  was  considered  safe  to  undertake  the  journey.  The  treaty 
with  the  Iroquois  had  just  been  concluded  and  the_y  made  their  an-angements 
to  go  by  way  of  Lake  Erie.  When  impoi-tuned  by  friends  in  Quebec  to  refrain 
from  such  a  toilsome  and  dangerous  journey,  especially  as  the  comitry  to  which 
she  contemplated  going  was  wild  and  barbarous,  where  she  would  be  without 
congenial  company  and  attractions,  Madame  Cadillac  replied:  "Do  not  waste 
your  pity  upon  me,  dear  friends.  I  know  the  hardships,  the  perils  of  the 
journey,  the  isolation  of  the  life  to  which  I  am  going;  yet  I  am  eager  to  go. 
For  a  woman  who  truly  loves  her  husband  has  no  stronger  attraction  than  his 
company,  wherever  he  may  be." 

Although  the  two  women  were  accompanied  only  bj-  Indians  and  rough 
canoe  men,  they  were  treated  with  the  utmost  i-espect  and  arrived  at  Detroit 
without  accident  or  adventure.  The  following  description  of  their  landing  is 
taken  from  Mary  Catherine  Crowley's  address  at  the  Bi-Centenary  celebra- 
tion in  1901 : 

"One  day  toward  the  end  of  May  (1702)  the  sentry  whose  pleasant  task 
it  is  to  watch  the  i-iver,  beholds  down  toward  the  lake  of  the  Eries  a  dark 
object,  just  at  the  line  where  the  blue-gi-ay  clouds  and  the  silver  waters  meet; 
so  far  off  that  it  might  almost  be  mistaken  for  a  wild  duck,  which  as  it  flies 
dips  its  wings  to  the  surface  of  the  stream,  a  fog  stealing  up  from  the  lake, 


or  the  smoke  of  an  ludiau  fire  from  the  laud.  As  it  draws  nearer,  however, 
it  is  seen  to  be  a  canoe ;  another  appears  in  its  wake.  Tlie  seutiy  calls  the  news 
in  a  loud  voice  and  every  civilian  in  the  little  town  hurries  to  the  strand;  the 
occupants  of  the  canoes  maj^  be  a  partj^  of  redskins  returning  from  the  lower 
lakes,  or  perhaps  even  a  band  of  Iroquois  come  with  treacherous  offerings  of 
peace  belts,  as  they  did  at  Michilimackinac. 

"Monsieur  de  Cadillac  orders  the  garrison  under  anus.  The  bateaux  come 
nearer;  now  a  white  banner  waves  from  the  prow  of  the  foremost  canoe  as  it 
glides  up  the  shining  path  made  by  the  sunlight.  A  sunbeam  kisses  the  flag, 
and  at  the  same  moment  the  spectators  on  the  shore  catch  sight  of  its  golden 
fleurs  de  lis.  A  glad  shout  goes  up  from  a  hundred  throats:  'This  is  verily 
the  convoy  from  Fort  Front enac  1 '  *  *  *  Now  we  distinguish  the  figures 
in  the  canoes ;  the  Indian  rowers,  the  sturdy  forms  of  the  Canadians  who  foitn 
the  escort  of  the  women,  the  happy  wives  of  the  soldiers.  In  the  stern  of  the 
ladies'  flagship  we  see  Madame  de  Tonty,  buxom  and  comely,  a  charmmg  pic- 
ture of  a  young  matron  of  New  France ;  jMadame  Cadillac,  handsome  and  gi-a- 
ciously  dignified  as  the  wife  of  the  seigneur  should  be,  yet  with  a  bright,  glad 
smile.  Against  her  knee  leans  little  Jacques,  her  six  year  old  son,  who  calls 
out  cheerily  at  the  sight  of  his  father  and  of  his  older  brother  Antoine,  who 
came  with  Cadillac." 


At  noon  on  IMay  30,  1903,  a  tablet  commemorative  of  the  arrival  of  these 
fii-st  white  M'omen  in  Detroit  was  unveiled  with  appropriate  ceremonies.  It  is 
located  on  the  Detroit  Art  Museum,  at  the  corner  of  Hastings  Street  and  Jef- 
ferson Avenue,  and  shows  in  bas-relief  Madame  Cadillac  landing  from  the 
canoe,  greeted  by  her  husband,  while  Indians  are  seen  peering  from  behind 
the  trees  farther  back  from  the  river. 

The  idea  of  the  tablet  originated  with  ^Irs.  ^Marguerite  Beaubien.  by  whom 
it  was  unveiled.  It  was  presented  to  the  city  and  the  Detroit  ^Museum  of  Art 
by  Mi-s.  Bertram  C.  Wliitney,  president  of  the  Women's  Bi-Centenary  Com- 
mittee: was  accepted  for  the  city  by  Mayor  "William  C.  Maybui'y,  and  for  the 
iluseum  of  Art  by  Theodore  C.  Buhl,  custodian  of  the  museum.  The  memorial 
address  was  delivered  by  Alfred  Russell. 


A  few  events,  each  the  first  of  its  kind,  that  occurred  in  old  Detroit,  be- 
tween the  time  it  was  founded  and  the  departure  of  Cadillac  in  1711,  were : 

The  first  white  child  born  in  the  village  was  a  daughter  of  Alphonse  de 
Tonty  and  his  wife.  She  was  named  Therese.  in  honor  of  ^ladame  Cadillac. 
The  exact  date  of  birth  is  not  known. 

The  first  recorded  baptism  was  that  of  ^Marle  Therese,  daughter  of  Antoine 
de  LalMothe  and  Therese  Cadillac.  Farmer  gives  the  date  of  this  baptism  as 
February  2.  1704. 

The  first  known  death  was  that  of  Father  Constantine  de  L 'Halle,  who  was 
killed  by  an  Indian  in  the  summer  of  1706. 

The  first  wheat  ever  .sown  in  I\Iichigan  was  so^vn  at  Detroit  on  October  7, 
1701,  bv  direction  of  Cadillac. 








The  principal  events  in  the  history  of  Detroit  from  1701  to  1710 — while 
Cadillac  was  commandant — have  been  chronicled  in  the  preceding  chapter. 
During  that  period  Cadillac  sent  frequent  reports  to  the  govei-nor-general  of 
New  France,  and  to  Paris,  concerning  the  condition  of  the  post.  None  of  his 
successors  was  so  enterprising  in  this  respect,  and  many  events  that  occurred 
between  1710  and  1760  are  left,  to  a  considerable  degree,  in  obscurity.  The 
purpose  of  this  chapter  is  to  give  a  list  of  the  commandants  that  followed 
Cadillae,  in  the  order  in  which  they  served,  together  with  such  information 
regarding  the  occurrences  under  each  as  could  be  gleaned  from  .sources  con- 
sidered reliable.     The  fii-st  commandajit  after  Cadillac  was 


Pierre  Alphouse  de  Tont.v,  Baron  de  Paludy,  a  son  of  Laurent  and  Angelique 
(de  Liette)  de  Tonty,  was  born  in  1659.  His  father  is  credited  with  having 
been  the  inventor  of  Tontine  insurance.  An  older  brother,  Henry  de  Tonty, 
was  La  Salle  "s  lieutenant  in  the  efforts  to  discover  the  mouth  of  the  Mississippi 
River.  He  wore  an  artificial  hand  and  was  called  by  the  Indians  "The  man 
with  the  iron  hand." 

Alphonse  de  Tonty  was  an  associate  and  confidant  of  Cadillac  and  accom- 
panied him  to  the  Detroit  River  in  1701  as  second  in  command.  Wlien  Cadillac 
was  called  to  Montreal  in  170-4,  and  placed  under  ai-rest  upon  his  arrival,  Tonty 
was  left  in  charge  of  the  post.  Soon  after  Cadillac's  departure,  Tonty  began 
selling  powder  to  the  Indians  and  also  became  involved  in  the  embezzlement  of 
furs  belonging  to  the  Company  of  the  Colony.  This  caused  Cadillae  to  lose 
confidence  in  a  man  whom  he  had  trusted  implicitly,  and  at  his  solicitation 
Tonty  was  removed.  M.  de  la  Forest  was  made  temporary  commandant  on 
September  25,  1705,  but  was  succeeded  in  the  following  Jannaiy  by  Sieur  de 
Bourgmont,  of  whom  more  will  be  said  later. 

It  appears  that  when  Cadillac  returned  to  Detroit  in  1706,  he  pardoned 
Tonty,  who  remained  at  the  post  and  secretly  worked  to  destroy  the  influence 
of  his  superior  officer  among  the  Indians.     It  is  reported  that  he  received  a 

Vol.  1—7 



pension  of  6,000  francs  a  rear  for  tliis  service.  In  July,  1717,  he  was  made 
commaiiclant,  though  four  others  had  preceded  him  in  that  position  after  the 
removal  of  Cadillac.  At  that  time  the  commandant  was  required  to  pay  all 
the  expenses  of  the  post,  a  missionaiy,  an  interpreter,  presents  for  the  Indians, 
clothing-,  subsistence  and  a  surgeon  for  the  soldiers  of  the  garrison,  all  out  of 
the  profits  derived  from  his  trade.  Tonty  borrowed  26,246  livres,  18  sous  and 
4  deniers  from  Francois  Bouat  to  invest  in  goods  for  trade  with  the  Indians. 
He  did  not  succeed  as  well  as  he  anticipated,  his  debt  to  Bouat  was  a  source 
of  constant  anxiety,  and  he  turned  the  trade  over  to  Francois  La  llarque  and 
Louis  Gastineau  for  an  annuity.  They  took  in  three  other  partners — Thierry, 
Nolan  and  Gouin — and  these  five  controlled  the  trade,  paying  Tonty  every  j'ear 
a  sum  sufficient  for  the  maintenance  of  the  post. 

During  Cadillac's  time,  and  for  some  years  after  he  left,  it  was  the  custom 
to  hold  a  sort  of  fair  every  year,  usually  lasting  three  da.ys.  On  these  occa- 
sions the  Indians  came  to  the  post  and  bought  such  goods  as  they  wanted,  pay- 
ing for  them  with  their  fui*s.  There  were  at  first  twenty  or  more  stores,  from 
which  the  natives  could  purchase.  Under  the  Tonty  administration  they  found 
but  two  stores,  both  owned  by  the  same  persons,  with  no  competition  in  prices, 
which  were  higher  than  ever  before.  This  created  great  dissatisfaction  among 
the  Indians,  and  also  among  the  French  or  Canadians,  causing  trade  to  decrease 
to  an  alarming  extent.  Manj"-  left  the  post.  Others  appealed  to  Tonty  for 
relief,  but  he  could  do  nothing,  having  disposed  of  his  trading  rights  under  an 
agi-eement  that  could  not  be  broken. 

Complaints  were  lodged  against  him,  by  both  the  leading  citizens  and  the 
Indians,  and  early  in  the  winter  of  1721-22  Tonty  went  to  Qi^ebec  to  answer 
the  charges.  During  his  absence  Sieur  de  Belestre  discharged  the  duties  of 
commandant.  In  1724  Tonty  was  again  summoned  to  Quebec  to  answer  charges 
made  against  him  by  Francois  La  Marque,  who  had  purchased  from  Cadillac 
certain  rights  at  Detroit,  but  was  forbidden  by  Tontj'  to  visit  the  post  for  the 
purpose  of  looking  after  his  interests.  When  the  Marquis  de  Beauharnois  be- 
came governor  of  New  France  eai-ly  in  1727,  Tonty  went  to  Quebec  to  welcome 
him  and  to  make  certain  recommendations  for  the  improvement  of  the  post.  He 
failed  to  make  a  favorable  impression  on  the  new  governor.  To  make  matters 
worse  for  him,  the  Huron  Indians  were  threatening  to  abandon  their  village 
near  Detroit  and  remove  to  the  Maumee  River,  unless  they  were  given  a  new 
commandant.  This  threat  outweighed  anything  Tontj'  could  bring  to  bear,  as 
it  was  plain  that  if  the  Indians  went  to  the  Maumee  (now  Toledo,  Ohio),  their 
trade  would  go  to  the  English,  which  would  ruin  Detroit.  Beauharnois  told 
the  Indians  that  Tonty 's  term  would  expire  the  following  spring,  when  they 
should  have  a  new  commandant.  He  was  therefore  relieved  of  the  command 
in  the  spring  of  1728. 

Tonty  was  twice  married.  His  first  wife,  to  whom  he  was  married  on  Feb- 
ruary 17,  1689,  was  IMarianne,  daughter  of  Picote  de  Belestre,  afterward  second 
in  command  and  acting  commandant  of  Detroit.  His  .second  wife  was  Marianne, 
a  daughter  of  Francois  La  Marque.  Her  first  husband  was  J.  B.  Nolan,  to 
whom  she  was  married  on  May  3,  1669,  and  after  his  death  she  became  the  wife 
of  Antoine  de  Fresnel  (or  Fruel)  de  Pipadiere.  Tonty  was  therefore  her  third 
matrimonial  venture.  Madame  de  Tonty  did  not  accompany  her  husband  to 
Detroit  in  1701,  but  came  the  following  spring  with  Madame  Cadillac.  Tonty 
died  at  Detroit  on  November  10,  1727. 



The  name  of  Etienne  Venyard,  Sieiir  de  Bourgmont,  fii-st  appears  in  the 
post  records  as  commandant  on  January  29,  1706,  when  he  succeeded  La  Forest 
as  temporary  commandant  during-  Cadillac's  absence.  He  had  been  described 
as  a  "big  blustering  coward,"  and  some  of  his  acts  while  at  Detroit  bear  out 
the  description.  The  several  Indian  bands  located  near  the  village  were  not 
always  on  amicable  terms  with  each  other,  quarrels  among  them  were  of  fre- 
quent occurrence  and  the  citizens  were  in  constant  fear  of  an  uprising.  The 
post  needed  a  commandant  who  understood  the  Indian  character  better  than 
Bourgmont  to  preserve  the  peace,  but  instead  of  adopting  a  policy  to  keep  the 
savages  quiet,  he  acted  in  such  a  manner  that  they  became  more  restless  than 
before  his  coming.  In  June,  1706,  a  dog  belonging  to  an  Indian  of  one  band 
bit  an  Indian  of  another.  The  enraged  Indian  kicked  the  dog,  which  started 
trouble  inside  the  fort.  Bourgmont  rushed  out  of  his  quarters,  fell  upon  the 
Indian  who  had  been  bitten,  and  beat  him  severely.  All  the  Indians  were 
aroused  over  the  incident,  but  by  the  exercise  of  diplomacy  on  the  part  of  the 
citizens  in  whom  the  Indians  had  confidence,  serious  trouble  was  averted. 

Before  the  return  of  Cadillac,  Bourgmont  deserted  the  post,  taking  with 
him  several  soldiers  of  the  garrison  and  a  woman  named  Tichenet,  with  whom 
he  had  maintained  relations  that  caused  a  scandal  in  the  village.  The  deserters 
established  a  camp  on  the  shores  of  Lake  Erie.  As  soon  as  Cadillac  returaed 
he  sent  a  detachment  of  soldiers  to  arrest  them.  Bourgmont  and  all  the  de- 
serters except  one  succeeded  in  making  their  escape.  The  one  captured  was 
brought  back  to  Detroit,  tried  by  a  court  martial  and  shot.  For  some  time 
Bourgmont  was  hunted  by  French  soldiers,  but  he  managed  to  avoid  them  and 
in  time  his  offense  was  apparently  forgotten. 

In  1718  a  letter  from  him  reached  the  French  court,  stating  that  for  several 
years  he  had  been  living  among  the  Indians  on  the  Missouri  River,  and  asking 
for  2,000  livres  to  be  used  in  purchasing  presents  for  them.  He  also  stated 
that  he  had  heard  of  a  people  four  or  five  hundred  lea^ies  from  where  he  wrote 
— a  people  who  were  small,  very  numerous,  deformed,  with  large  eyes  and  flat 
noses,  and  who  wore  clothing  like  that  worn  by  Europeans,  their  boots  being 
covered  with  spangles  of  shining  metal.  He  also  stated  that  these  people  were 
always  occupied  in  good  work,  possessed  an  abundance  of  gold  and  fine  .jewels, 
and  were  believed  to  be  related  to  the  Chinese. 

On  August  12,  1720,  he  was  commissioned  to  lead  an  expedition  to  make 
peace  with  the  Indians  of  New  Mexico  and  to  establish  a  post  on  the  Missouri 
River.  ]\[argry,  in  Volume  VI  of  his  works,  gives  a  detailed  account  of  Bourg- 
mont's  wanderings  through  the  wilds  west  of  the  Mississippi  River.  He  suc- 
ceeded in  his  mission  and  established  a  post  on  the  Missouri,  which  he  called 
the  Port  of  Orleans,  but  two  years  later  it  was  abandoned. 


The  fourth  man  to  occupy  the  position  of  conunandant  at  Detroit  was 
Charles  Regnault,  Sieur  Dubuisson.  When  Cadillac  was  removed  in  1710, 
Francois  de  la  Forest  was  appointed  as  his  successor.  He  had  previously  served 
a  brief  term  as  temporary  commandant,  and  being  old  and  infimi  he  requested 
that  Dubuisson  be  sent  to  take  charge  of  the  post  for  a  time.  By  La  Forest's 
direction   Dubuisson   took   all    of   Cadillac's   property,   real   and   personal,   and 


would  not  permit  liim  to  sell  or  remove  it.  This  action  was  not  approved  by 
the  governor-general,  but  no  reparation  was  ever  made. 

Many  of  the  people  living  at  Detroit,  especiall_y  those  who  were  personal 
friends  of  Cadillac  and  unmarried,  packed  up  their  effects  and  went  back  to 
Montreal  and  Quebec.  This  so  reduced  the  population  that  Dubuisson  decided 
to  decrease  the  size  of  the  village  inclosure,  which  in  previous  j^ears  had  been 
enlarged  to  accommodate  the  growing  pojiulation.  Originally,  the  village  in- 
cluded the  land  measured  along  the  line  of  the  present  Jefferson  Avenue  from 
Griswold  to  "Wayne  streets,  with  lots  on  both  sides  of  St.  Anne  Street,  which 
almost  coincided  with  the  present  north  line  of  Jefferson  Avenue.  Dubuisson 
divided  the  village  into  two  nearly  equal  parts  and  built  a  new  palisade  in 
such  a  manner  as  to  exclude  about  half  of  the  old  village  from  the  protection 
of  the  garrison.  This  did  not  please  the  people,  particularly  those  left  outside 
of  the  new  palisade.  A  meeting  was  called,  at  which  a  remonstrance  was  drawn 
up  and  signed  by  many  of  the  leading  men  of  the  village.  This  was  sent  to 
Cadillac,  but  the  old  commandant  could  do  nothing  for  them.  In  Maj^  1712, 
the  village  was  attacked  by  the  Fox  Indians  and  those  outside  the  garrison 
were  the  greatest  sufferers.  An  account  of  this  attack  is  given  in  Chapter 
XXXIII.  Soon  after  this  event  La  Forest  arrived  and  Dubuisson  continued 
at  the  post  as  second  in  command. 

After  the  death  of  La  Forest,  Dubuisson  served  as  commandant  until  the 
arrival  of  Sabrevois.  From  1723  to  1727  he  was  in  command  at  the  Miamis, 
a  post  on  the  ]\Iaumee  River  a  short  distance  above  the  present  City  of  Toledo. 
In  1729  he  was  in  command  at  Michilimackinac  with  the  rank  of  captain,  after 
which  he  seems  to  have  dropped  out  of  sight. 


Technically  speaking,  Francois  de  la  Forest  (sometimes  written  La  Foret) 
was  the  second  actual  commandant,  having  been  appointed  to  succeed  Cadillac. 
He  was  born  in  the  City  of  Paris  in  1648  and  soon  after  attaining  to  his  ma- 
jority was  commissioned  a  captain  in  the  marine  sei-vice.  In  1679  he  accom- 
panied La  Salle  to  Fort  Froutenac  and  to  the  Illinois  countiy  the  following 
year.  In  1682  he  was  in  command  at  Fort  Froutenac  and  assisted  the  goveraor 
in  negotiating  a  treaty  with  the  Iroquois  Indians,  accompanjdng  them  to  Mont- 
real. Shortly  after  this  Count  Froutenac  was  removed  from  the  office  of  gov- 
ernor and  his  successor  seized  Fort  Froutenac  (belonging  to  La  SaUe).  La 
Barre,  the  new  governor,  who  had  thus  seized  the  property,  would  not  permit 
La  Forest  to  return  there  and  he  went  to  France  to  enter  his  protest  against 
the  confiscation  of  La  Salle's  property  in  this  high-handed  manner,  though  he 
did  the  same  thing  to  Cadillac  a  few  years  later.  In  the  spring  of  1684  he 
returned  to  Canada,  with  orders  to  La  Barre  to  restore  Fort  Froutenac  to  him 
as  the  agent  of  La  Salle.  The  orders  also  directed  the  governor  to  assist  La 
Forest  in  maintaining  the  establishment  which  La  Salle  had  made  at  the  Fort. 
From  the  summer  of  1685  to  1687  he  was  in  command  at  Fort  St.  Louis,  which 
had  been  established  by  La  Salle  in  the  Illinois  country. 

On  September  11,  1691,  La  Forest  left  Quebec  with  110  men  for  Michili- 
mackinac, with  Tonty  as  second  in  command.  After  some  time  at  that  post, 
he  returned  to  Quebec,  where  on  November  11,  1702,  he  married  Charlotte 
Francoise  Juchereau,  a  wealthy  widow.  The  one  child  born  to  this  union  died 
in  infancy^     On  September  25,  1705,  he  was  appointed  commandant  at  Detroit 


iu  the  absence  of  Cadillac.  The  appointment  was  only  temporary  and  lasted 
but  a  few  weeks.  Upon  Cadillac's  return  a  difference  of  opinion  arose  between 
him  and  La  Forest,  and  the  latter  went  back  to  Quebec.  In  1710  he  was  ap- 
pointed as  Cadillac's  successor,  but  sent  Dubuisson  to  administer  the  affairs  of 
the  post  until  the  summer  of  1712.  It  was  at  this  time  that  he  appropriated  all 
of  Cadillac's  property,  amounting  in  value  to  more  than  one  hundred  and 
twenty-five  thousand  livres,  and  never  accounted  for  any  of  it.  La  Forest  died 
at  Quebec  on  October  16,  1714. 


Succeeding  La  Forest  came  Jacques  Charles  Sabrevois,  Sieur  de  Bleury,  a 
son  of  Henry  and  Gabrielle  (Martin)  Sabrevois,  who  was  born  in  1667.  He 
came  to  America  in  the  latter  part  of  the  Seventeenth  Century  and  in  1695-96 
held  a  commission  as  lieutenant  in  the  war  with  the  Ii'oquois.  Little  can  be 
learned  regarding  his  career  during  the  next  quarter  of  a  century.  A  decree 
of  the  royal  council  in  1720,  cites  the  fact  that  Sabrevois  was  appointed  com- 
mandant at  Detroit  in  1712,  two  years  before  the  death  of  La  Forest.  Ramezay 
used  his  influence  to  prevent  him  from  going  to  Detroit  and  he  was  not  pennit- 
ted  to  go  there  until  the  latter  part  of  1714  or  the  early  part  of  1715. 

Acting  upon  the  belief  that  he  was  to  be  given  the  exclusive  right  of  trade 
at  Detroit,  Sabrevois  expended  a  considerable  sum  of  money.  He  paid  an  in- 
terpreter 800  livres  a  year,  an  almoner  600,  a  surgeon  150,  and  was  liberal  in 
other  ways.  In  1717  he  was  removed  and  was  succeeded  by  Alphonse  de  Tonty. 
Just  before  his  departure,  Sabrevois  called  the  citizens  of  Detroit  together  and 
pointed  out  to  them  the  condition  of  the  fort.  One  curtain  of  the  fort  and  one 
line  of  pickets  he  pronounced  as  worthless  and  asked  the  people  to  assist  him  in 
rebuilding  it  for  the  general  welfare  of  the  village.  All  except  three  men — 
Baby,  Dusable  and  Neven — agreed  to  bear  a  portion  of  the  expense.  These 
three  subsequently  persuaded  the  others  to  withdraw  their  support.  Sabrevois 
then  undertook  the  work  at  his  own  expense,  but  did  not  finish  it  before  he  left. 
He  then  applied  to  the  court  for  financial  relief,  asking  to  be  reimbursed  for 
all  his  expenses,  because  he  had  not  been  given  the  trade  of  the  post,  but  his 
petition  was  denied.    The  rebuilding  of  the  fort  was  completed  by  Tonty  in  1718. 

Sabrevois '  management  of  the  post  was  evidently  satisfactory  to  his  superioi'S, 
as  in  1718  he  was  created  a  Chevalier  of  the  Militaiy  Order  of  St.  Louis.  From 
1721  to  1724  he  was  commandant  at  Fort  Chambly.  He  then  returned  to 
Montreal  and  was  made  ma.ior  of  that  eit.v.  where  he  died  while  holding  that 
office  on  June  19,  1727.  On  November  16,  1695,  he  married  Jean  Boucher  and 
to  them    were  born  six  children. 

An  incident  in  the  earlj-  life  of  Sabrevois  shows  that  he  was  acquainted  with 
Cadillac.  On  the  evening  of  May  2,  1686,  when  he  was  only  about  nineteen 
years  of  age,  he  met  Cadillac  at  the  boarding  house  of  Louise  Mousseau,  in  the 
lower  town  of  Quebec.  Sabrevois  mentioned  that  he  was  going  to  the  upper 
town  to  call  on  a  lady  and  in  the  conversation  Cadillac  characterized  him 
as  a  "sharper."  This  was  resented  bj'  the  youngster,  angry  words  followed 
and  both  started  to  draw  their  swords  when  they  were  separated  by  the  by- 
standers. Cadillac  then  picked  up  a  heavy  brass  candlestick  and  hurled  it 
at  his  opponent,  knocking  him  down.  The  candle  was  extinguished,  leaving 
the  room  in  darkness,  and  Cadillac  made  a  hasty  exit,  supposing  that  he  had 
killed  Sabrevois,  who,  in  fact,  was  only  slightly  injured.     Governor  Denonville 


learned  of  the  affair  and  ordered  an  investigation.  Tlie  testimony  was  reduced 
to  writing,  but  the  records  do  not  show  that  either  of  the  contestants  was 


Some  authorities  give  the  name  of  Louis  de  la  Porte,  Sieur  de  Louvign.y, 
as  commandant  at  Detroit,  succeeding  Tonty  in  1728,  but  the  records  do  not 
corroborate  the  statement.  If  he  was  ever  commandant  it  must  have  been  only 
in  a  temporary  capacity  at  some  period  subsequent  to  the  appointment  of  Tonty 
in  1717  and  during  the  abseuee  of  that  otificer  from  the  post. 

Louvigny  was  a  native  of  France,  but  was  in  Canada  as  early  as  1682. 
From  1690  to  1694  he  wa.s  commandant  at  Miehilimackinac,  immediately  pre- 
ceding Cadillac,  and  in  1700  his  name  appears  as  commandant  at  Fort  Fron- 
tenac.  The  laws  of  New  France  prohibited  the  commandant  of  that  post  from 
trading  with  the  Indians.  A  party  of  Iroquoi.s  visited  the  fort  with  a  large 
quantity  of  furs  and  told  Louvigny  that  they  were  on  their  way  to  Albany 
to  sell  the  skins  to  the  English,  but  would  sell  to  him  if  he  desired  to  buy. 
He  purchased  the  peltries,  for  which  he  paid  60,000  livres,  and  sent  them  to 
Quebec.  The  Jesuits  learned  of  the  transaction  and  informed  the  governor, 
who  removed  Louvigny  and  caused  the  fui-s  to  be  confiscated. 

Louvigny  was  appointed  major  of  Three  Eivers,  Canada,  in  1701  and  held 
that  office  for  about  two  years,  when  he  became  ma.ior  of  Quebec.  In  1703  he 
came  to  Detroit  as  an  officer  in  the  gan-ison  under  Cadillac,  but  did  not  remain 
long  at  the  post.  In  1716  he  led  an  expedition  against  the  Fox  Indians.  On 
that  occasion  he  passed  through  Detroit  and  reported  the  post  there  as  one  of 
the  best  fortified  in  the  eountiy.  While  on  this  expedition  he  was  appointed 
lieutenant-governor  of  Canada,  assuming  the  duties  of  the  position  upon  his 
return  to  Quebec.  He  lost  his  life  in  a  shipwreck  near  Louisburg  on  August 
27,  1725. 


The  full  name  of  this  officer  was  Francois  ilarie  Picote  de  Belestre.  It  is 
questionable  whether  he  was  ever  really  appointed  commandant  at  Detroit, 
though  he  may  have  served  as  such  at  various  times  between  1718  and  1727, 
during  the  absences  of  Tonty.  Belestre  was  born  in  1677  and  was  twice  mar- 
ried. His  first  wife  was  Anne  Bouthier,  who  died  in  1710,  and  his  second 
wife  was  Marie  Catherine  Trotier,  a  widow.  By  his  second  marriage  he  had 
two  children,  one  of  whom  afterward  became  commandant  at  Detroit.  He  died 
at  Detroit  on  October  9,  1729. 


Upon  the  death  of  Tonty  in  1727,  Jean  Baptist  de  St.  Ours,  Sieur  Deschail- 
lons  was  appointed  to  fill  the  vacancy.  He  was  about  fifty-eight  years  of  age 
at  the  time  he  received  the  appointment,  having  been  born  in  1670.  On  Novem- 
ber 25,  1705,  he  married  ilarguerite  La  Guardeur  and  to  this  marriage  were 
born  nine  children.  In  July,  1708,  France  and  England  being  at  war,  he  led 
a  force  of  about  one  hundred  British  troops  and  some  Indians  against  the  New 
England  settlements.  In  the  assault  on  Haverhill,  Massachusetts,  it  is  said  he  en- 
eoiiraged   the   savages   to  massacre   the    inhabitants.     The  next   year   Governor 


Vaudreuil  sent  him  to  Lake  Champlain,  and  later  he  was  ordered  to  march 
■against  the  Fox  Indians  about  Detroit  and  Mackinaw. 

In  1719  Deschaillons  was  appointed  commandant  of  the  post  at  Michili- 
maekinac,  but  held  the  position  for  onlj'  about  one  year.  His  record  during 
the  next  few  years  seems  to  have  been  lost,  as  nothing  more  can  be  learned  about 
him  until  he  was  appointed  commandant  at  Detroit  in  the  early  part  of  1728. 
He  remained  at  Detroit  until  the  spring  of  1729.  It  is  said  his  short  sta.y  there 
was  due  to  his  desire  not  to  forfeit  his  opportunity  for  promotion  in  the  army 
by  settling  down  a.s  commandant  of  a  frontier  post.  He  died  at  Quebec  on 
June  9,  1747. 


Following  Deschaillons  came  Louis  Henry  Deschamps,  Sieur  de  Boishebert, 
a  son  of  Jean  Baptiste  Deschamps  and  his  wife,  Catherine  Gertrude  Macard. 
He  was  born  at  Quebec  on  February  8,  1679.  When  about  two  years  old,  his 
mother  died  and  his  father  removed  to  Riviere  Quelle,  where  he  founded  an 
establishment  and  married  Jeanne  Marguerite  Chevalier  in  1701.  His  death 
occurred  about  two  .years  after  his  second  marriage. 

Louis  entered  the  army  almost  as  soon  as  he  was  old  enough  to  be  accepted 
by  the  militarj^  authorities.  In  1699  he  was  engaged  in  the  war  with  the  Iro- 
quois Indians,  under  the  command  of  the  Marquis  de  Vaudreuil.  In  1701 
he  was  sent  by  Governor  Callieres  to  hold  a  council  with  the  Indians  at  Michili- 
mackinac.  While  he  was  absent  on  his  mission,  Callieres  died  and  Boishebert 
received  no  remuneration  for  his  services.  During  Queen  Anne's  war,  he  was 
sent  to  guard  the  harbors  of  Newfoundland.  Near  Boston  he  assisted  in  the 
capture  of  three  English  vessels  loaded  with  powder — a  prize  of  great  im- 
portance to  the  Canadians,  whose  supply  of  powder  was  very  low. 

Boishebert  made  his  home  in  Acadia  during  this  period.  In  1709  he  went 
overland  to  Quebec  to  solicit  aid  for  the  Arcadians,  who  were  in  great  want. 
On  this  journey  he  dislocated  his  foot,  which  rendered  him  a  cripple  for  the 
remainder  of  his  life.  He  was  employed  as  assistant  engineer  on  the  forti- 
fications of  Quebec  in  1711-12,  and  the  next  year  made  a  map  of  the  Labrador 
coast  for  the  naval  council.  He  was  then  appointed  adjutant  of  Quebec  and 
held  that  position  for  about  eighteen  years.  On  December  10,  1721,  he  mar- 
ried at  Quebec  Genevieve  de  Ramezay,  daughter  of  Claude  de  Ramezay,  who 
was  afterward  governor  of  Montreal. 

The  exact  date  of  his  appointment  to  the  command  of  Detroit  is  uncei-tain, 
but  it  was  probably  in  the  spring  of  1730.  He  started  for  Detroit  in  the  early 
summer  of  that  year  and  held  the  position  of  commandant  for  about  three 
years.  During  his  term  of  office  there  was  an  improvement  in  the  conditions  at 
Detroit.     He  returned  to  Montreal  in  1733  and  died  there  on  June  6,  1736. 


Soon  after  Boishebert  left  for  ^Montreal,  Ives  Jacques  Hugues  Pean,  Sieur 
de  Livandiere,  came  to  Detroit  as  commandant.  He  was  born  in  Paris  in 
1682  and  was  a  son  of  Jean  Pierre  Pean  and  his  wife,  Anne  de  Corbarboineau. 
That  he  held  a  commission  of  some  sort  in  the  army  is  almost  certain,  though 
the  records  do  not  show  his  rank.  His  career  after  he  came  to  America  was 
of  a  military  nature.  On  June  25,  1722,  he  was  united  in  marriage  with  Marie 
Francoise  Pecody,  daughter  of  Antoine   Pecody  and  his  wife,  Jeanne  de   St. 


Ours,  of  ^Montreal.  Three  sons  and  a  daughter  were  born  to  this  union.  In 
1724  he  was  appointed  commandant  of  Fort  Frontenac  and  three  years  later 
lie  occupied  a  similar  position  at  Fort  Chambly. 

When  he  came  to  Detroit  in  1733,  the  garrison  consisted  of  only  seventeen 
soldiers,  though  there  were  in  the  village  eighty  men  capable  of  bearing  arms. 
Pean  was  a  man  of  good  .judgment  and  executive  ability  and  the  improvement 
that  began  under  Boishebert  continued  throughout  his  term  of  three  years. 
In  1734  the  population  and  importance  of  the  village  had  grown  to  such  pro- 
portions as  to  justify  the  appointment  of  a  royal  notary.  Eobert  Navarre  was 
chosen  for  the  position.  He  was  a  son  of  that  Robert  Navarre  who  came  to 
Detroit  in  1728,  and  a  lineal  descendant  of  Antoine  Navarre,  Duke  de  Vendome, 
a  half-brother  of  Henry  IV,  King  of  France  and  Navarre.  The  notary  was 
born  at  Detroit  in  1739  and  married  Louise  de  ^Marsac,  a  granddaughter  of 
Jacob  de  ilarsac,  who  came  as  a  sergeant  with  Cadillac  to  Detroit  in  1701. 
Before  his  appointment  the  only  records  kept  at  the  post  were  those  of  St. 
Anne's  Church.  He  began  the  public  records,  among  which  were  the  mai-riage 
contracts,  which  always  preceded  the  church  wedding.  He  was  a  man  of  high 
character  and  served  as  .justiee,  notary,  surveyor  and  collector  until  the  sur- 
render of  the  post  to  the  Englisli  in  1760.  The  British  commandants  continued 
him  in  office  for  many  years.    His  death  occurred  on  November  21,  1791. 

In  his  report  for  1735  Pean  stated  that  the  wheat  crop  of  that  year  was 
between  thirteen  and  fourteen  hundred  minots,  that  it  had  been  safely  har- 
vested, and  that  the  price  had  fallen  to  three  livres  a  minot.  As  the  minot  at 
Detroit  was  equivalent  to  a  bushel,  the  price  of  wheat  was  therefore  sixty  cents 
per  bushel.  Prior  to  this  time  the  chief  exports  were  furs  and  maple  sugar, 
but  in  this  year  some  wheat  was  exported. 

While  at  Detroit,  Pean  was  gi-anted  "a  tract  of  land  called  Livandiere, 
or  Riviere  Chazy,  two  leagues  or  two  and  half  leagues  in  width  by  three  leagues 
in  depth  along  the  River  Chambly  and  Lake  Champlain,  with  the  River  Chazy 
in  the  midst,  also  the  Isle  LaMothe. "  This  grant  was  confinned  on  February 
8,  1735,  but  in  1744  it  was  discovered  that  a  portion  of  it  had  previously  been 
granted  to  other  parties,  so  that  Pean's  concession  was  cut  in  two.  He  was 
again  confirmed  in  the  possession  of  a  tract  one  and  a  half  leagues  wide  by 
three  deep,  and,  as  a  sort  of  indemnity,  was  granted  another  parcel  three- 
fourths  of  a  league  wide  on  Lake  Champlain.  In  the  documents  relating  to 
these  land  grants  he  is  designated  as  "a  Chevalier  of  the  Military  Order  of  St. 
Louis,  late  captain  and  now  major  of  Quebec,  and  commandant  at  Detroit." 

Through  the  reports  and  letters  of  Pean,  the  Quebec  government  was 
awakened  to  the  importance  of  Detroit  and  a  change  of  sentiment  became 
noticeable.  A  few  months  after  tlie  expiration  of  Pean's  term  in  1736,  Hoc- 
quart,  the  intendant  at  Quebec,  recommended  the  increase  of  the  gaiTison  to 
sixty  men,  with  the  proper  officers,  and  other  measures  were  taken  to  strengthen 
the  post.  Pean  retained  the  oifice  of  major  of  Quebec  until  his  death  on  Janu- 
ary 26,  1747.    Says  Mr.  Burton : 

"An  injustice  has  been  done  to  Pean  by  the  late  Judge  Campbell  and  some 
others  who  have  written  about  him,  in  confounding  the  commandant  Pean 
with  his  son  who  bore  the  same  name.  It  is  i-elated  that  the  son,  Michael  Jean 
Hugnes  Pean,  became  powerful  in  Canadian  affairs  and  infamous  through  the 
i-elatious  existing  between  his  wife  and  the  Intendant  Bigot :  that  he  counte- 
nanced the  intrigue  and  reaped  a  financial  benefit  from  it.     He  formed  one  of 

OLD  "MORAN"  Hoi  si;.  l;l  ll.T  Al;(il    i'  1734 
Was  located  on  -what  was  later  ■Woodbridge  Street,  between  St.  Antoine  and  Hastings 


a  number  of  conspiratoi's  who  ruined  French  Canada  and  finally  gave  it  up 
to  the  British  in  1760.  Young  Pean  was  taken  to  Paris  and  confined  for  some 
years  in  the  Bastile,  tried  for  his  misdemeanors,  convicted  and  sentenced  to 
pay  a  fine  of  600,000  livres.  It  is  onlj'  necessary  to  examine  the  dates  at  which 
these  transactions  are  recorded  to  prove  that  the  commandant  Pean  is  not  the 
notorious  Pean  who  helped  to  ruin  Canada.  Commandant  Pean  died  on  January 
26,  1747,  and  the  imprisonment  of  the  son  in  the  Bastile  began  on  November 
13,  1761.     His  trial  commenced  a  little  later  and  was  protracted  three  years." 


The  last  name  of  this  commandant  is  sometimes  written  "Noyelle"  or 
"  Desnoyelle. "  He  was  born  in  France  in  1694  and  was  the  son  of  Col.  Joseph 
Desnoyelles,  of  Crecy.  He  came  to  America  in  his  .youth,  entered  the  army 
and  in  1736  held  a  commission  as  captain  in  the  marine  department,  having 
arrived  at  that  distinction  by  successive  promotions.  Six  years  prior  to  that 
time  he  was  in  command  at  the  Miamis,  a  post  on  the  Maumee  River  a  few 
miles  above  the  present  Citj^  of  Toledo.  According  to  Ferland's  "Historic 
du  Canada,"  Desnoyelles  left  Montreal  in  August,  1734,  with  eighty  French 
troops  and  about  one  hundred  thirty  Indians,  in  a  campaign  against  the  Sac 
and  Fox  Indians.  He  passed  through  Detroit,  where  he  received  reinforce- 
ments of  Huron  and  Pottawatomi  Indians,  and  after  a  march  of  seven  months 
found  the  Sac  and  Fox  warriors  to  the  number  of  250  on  the  Des  Moines  River. 
After  a  skirmish  the  enemy  w^ithdrew  to  a  fort  built  by  the  women  and  children. 
Part  of  the  Indians  who  had  accompanied  Desnoyelles  had  returned  to  their 
villages,  leaving  him  only  240  men.  With  this  force  he  deemed  it  imprudent 
to  attack.  A  parley  was  held,  in  which  the  Sac  and  Fox  promised  to  separate 
and  the  latter  tribe  was  sent  north  to  the  bay. 

Governor  Beauharnois  appointed  Desnoyelles  commandant  at  Detroit  in  1736 
to  succeed  Pean,  but  the  appointment  was  not  approved  by  the  government  at 
Paris.  Unaware  of  the  king's  veto,  he  left  Montreal  on  May  6,  1736,  and  in 
due  time  arrived  at  Detroit.  The  king  appointed  Pierre  Jacques  Paj'an  de 
Noyan,  but  he  did  not  go  at  once  to  Detroit,  and  Governor  Beauharnois  did  not 
remove  Desnoyelles,  reporting  that  he  was  "universally  beloved  by  all  the 
French  and  savages  and  that  he  was  disinterested  in  his  work  for  the  service.". 
It  is  said  that  he  served  the  entire  term  of  three  years  without  being  apprised  of 
the  king's  refusal  to  confirm  his  appointment.  After  retiring  from  the  office 
of  commandant,  he  joined  the  explorer  Verendrye  in  one  of  his  expeditions 
to  the  westward  in  an  effort  to  discover  a  passage  by  water  to  the  Pacific  Ocean. 
The  date  of  his  death  could  not  be  ascertained. 


Under  date  of  October  5,  1738,  Pierre  Jacques  Payan  de  Noyan,  Sieur  de 
Charvis  (or  Chavois),  wrote  to  the  French  colonial  minister  from  Montreal: 
' '  My  Lord : — I  have  received  with  all  the  respect  and  gratitude  of  which  I 
am  capable,  the  new  proofs  of  the  kindness  with  whicli  your  highness  honors 
me,  in  having  been  pleased  to  select  me  to  command  at  Detroit.  I  know,  my 
Lord,  how  gi-eatly  the  honor  of  that  confidence  ought  to  spur  me  on  to  seek 
means  of  justifying  it  to  your  highness,  despite  my  humble  capacity.  I  feel 
to  deserve  their  marked  favor  will  result  in  the  fulfillment  of  what  is  required 
of  me.     I  do  not  feel  able,  my  Lord,  to  make  any  proposal  as  to  the  settlement 


of  this  post.  I  am,  as  yet.  unaware  what  means  you  wish  to  be  employed  and 
the  methods  you  prescribe  for  me,  the  ^Marquis  de  Beauharnois  not  having 
done  me  the  honor  to  inform  me  of  them. ' ' 

It  seems  that  the  writer  of  this  letter  had  been  appointed  commandant 
of  Detroit  in  the  place  of  Desnoyelles,  but  his  acceptance  of  the  position  was 
delayed  on  account  of  a  surgical  operation,  as  the  intendant  wrote  to  the  Paris 
government  in  the  fall  of  1738  that  "he  has  recovered  from  the  operation  that 
wa.s  performed  last  spring  on  his  left  breast  and  he  counts  on  being  able  to 
take  up  his  appointment  at  Detroit  next  spring.  M.  de  Beauharnois  will  give 
him  ordei-s  to  do  so.     He  will  therefore  then  be  installed  as  commandant." 

Payan  was  born  at  ]Moutreal  on  November  3,  1695.  His  father  was  Pierre 
Payan,  Sieur  de  Noyan,  and  his  mother  was  Catherine  Jeanne  Le  Moine  (or 
Le  Moyne),  a  member  of  the  celebrated  family  of  that  name  that  furnished 
so  many  men  prominent  in  the  annals  of  Canada  and  Louisiana.  Pre^dous  to 
his  appointment  as  commandant  of  Detroit,  he  served  as  captain  of  a  company 
in  the  marine  department  and  later  as  major.  In  1726,  while  serving  with 
his  uncle.  Sieur  de  Bienville,  then  governor  of  Louisiana,  the  latter  was  removed 
from  his  office  as  governor  and  summoned  to  Paris  to  explain  his  oflScial  conduct. 
Payan  accompanied  his  uncle,  but  their  explanations  were  not  satisfactory  to 
the  court,  which  was  already  prejudiced  against  Bienville.  They  returned  to 
America  and  on  November  17,  1731,  Payan  married  Catherine  Daillebout.  Of 
their  four  children,  Pierre  Louis  was  born  in  Detroit. 

Payan  assumed  his  duties  as  commandant  in  th*  spring  of  1739  and  rendered 
himself  unpopular  with  certain  elements  on  account  of  his  efforts  to  check  the 
sale  of  liquor  to  the  Indians.  In  1740  he  went  to  Montreal  to  obtain  an  order 
to  that  effect,  but  returned  to  Detroit  in  1742  to  finish  the  remainder  of  his  term 
- — only  a  few  weeks.  In  1749  he  was  made  major  and  governor  of  Montreal, 
which  was  probably  his  last  public  service. 


Pierre  Joseph  Celorou,  Sieur  de  Blainville,  the  fifth  child  and  eldest  son  of 
Jean  Baptiste  Celoron  and  his  wife,  Helene  Picote  de  Belestre,  was  one  of  the 
most  noted  of  Detroit's  commandants.  Following  the  example  of  so  many  young 
men  of  that  period,  he  chose  a  military  career  and  in  1734  was  commandant 
at  Michilimackinae  with  the  rank  of  lieutenant.  He  was  sent  to  New  Orleans 
to  assist  the  French  settlers  of  Louisiana  in  their  war  with  the  Chickasaw 
Indians.  He  was  appointed  commandant  at  Detroit  on  July  6,  1742.  He  sei-^-ed 
there  until  in  June,  1744,  when  he  was  sent  to  Niagara.  During  the  next  six 
years  he  was  employed  on  several  important  missions  for  the  Canadian  Gov- 
ernment. In  1747  he  convoyed  a  quantity  of  provisions  from  Quebec  to  De- 
troit, and  in  1749  he  led  an  expedition  down  the  Ohio  River  to  plant  the  leaden 
plates  setting  forth  France's  claims  to  the  country.  This  work  he  performed 
so  well  that  in  1750  he  was  again  appointed  commandant  at  Detroit.  Bi;rton's 
"Earlj^  Detroit"  says: 

"During  Celoron 's  second  term,  the  governor  of  Canada  offered,  as  an  in- 
ducement to  people  to  settle  at  Detroit,  to  assist  them  with  articles  necessary 
to  sustain  them  for  two  or  three  years.  Each  head  of  a  family  was  given  a 
farm,  of  the  usual  size,  rations  for  the  members  from  the  militarj-  stores,  tools 
and  implements  of  husbandry.  Many  families  came  up  and  settled  here 
under  tliese  inducements,  and  yet  the  plan  was  not  very  popular.    The  materials 


furnished  these  farmei-s  in  the  way  of  tools  and  stock  were  not  gifts  but  loans, 
and  were  expected  to  be  repaid  when  the  people  became  permanently  settled. 
A  full  list  of  these  emigrants  has  been  preserved,  containing  the  names  of  fifty- 
four  heads  of  families.  Many  of  the  newcomers  were  young  men  without  wives 
and  young  women  were  so  scarce  that  Celoron  wrote  to  ask  for  girls  to  become 
wives  to  the  young  farmers." 

Celoron  served  as  commandant  until  the  beginning  of  the  French  and 
Indian  war.  In  1755  he  was  in  command  of  the  Canadian  militia  that  attacked 
the  British  at  Lake  George.  He  was  appointed  major  of  Montreal  while 
the  war  was  in  progress  and  died  there  on  April  12,  1759.  Celoron  Island, 
at  the  mouth  of  the  Detroit  River,  bears  his  name. 

On  December  30,  1724,  Celoron  married  Marie  Madeleine  Blondeau,  who 
bore  him  three  children.  After  her  death  he  married  Catherine  Eury  de  La 
Parelle  at  Montreal  on  October  13,  1743.  Of  the  nine  children  of  this  union, 
three  were  born  at  Detroit.  His  widow  survived  him  and  in  1777  became  a 
member  of  the  Grey  Nuns  of  Montreal,  under  the  name  of  Sister  Mai-ie  Cather- 
ine Eury  La  Parelle.  A  daughter,  Marie  Madeleine,  was  also  a  member  of  the 
same  order. 


In  1743,  a  few  months  before  the  conclusion  of  Celoron 's  first  term  as  com- 
mandant, Paul  Joseph  Le  Moine  (or  Le  Moyne),  Chevalier  de  Longueil,  was 
appointed  as  his  successor.  He  was  a  son  of  Charles  Le  Moine,  Baron  de  Longue- 
ville,  and  was  born  at  Longueville  on  September  19,  1701,  when  the  settlement 
at  Detroit  was  not  quite  two  months  old.  The  Le  Moine  family  was  one  of  the 
most  illustrious  in  the  annals  of  Canada  and  Louisiana.  Says  Parkman: 
"Charles  Le  Moyne,  son  of  an  inn  keeper  of  Dieppe  and  founder  of  a  family 
the  most  truly  eminent  in  Canada,  was  a  man  of  sterling  qualities,  who  had  been 
long  enough  in  the  colonies  to  learn  to  live  there.  He  had  ten  sons  who  made 
themselves  famous  in  the  history  of  their  times." 

The  ten  sons  were :  Charles,  Baron  de  Longueville ;  Jacques,  Sieur  de  Ste. 
Helene;  Pierre,  Sieur  d 'Iberville;  Paul,  Sieur  de  Maricourt;  Francois,  Sieur 
de  Bienville;  Joseph,  Sieur  de  Serigny;  Louis,  Sieur  de  Chateauguay;  Jean 
Baptiste,  Sieur  de  Bienville ;  Gabriel,  who  died  at  sea  while  serving  in  the  ma- 
rine guard ;  Antoine,  governor  of  Cayenne.  A  daughter,  Catherine  Jeanne, 
married  Pierre  Payan,  Sieur  de  Noyan,  as  previously  mentioned. 

On  October  19,  1728,  Paul  Joseph  Le  Moine  and  Marie  Genevieve  de  Joy- 
bert  were  united  in  marriage  at  Quebec.  They  became  the  parents  of  eleven 
children,  none  of  whom  was  born  during  their  residence  in  Detroit.  Between 
the  time  of  his  mai-riage  and  his  appointment  as  commandant  at  Detroit,  Le 
Moine  was  employed  in  various  positions  of  responsibility  in  connection  with 
Canadian  affairs.  At  the  expiration  of  his  term  at  Detroit  in  1748,  he  was 
made  second  in  command  at  that  post.  He  took  an  active  part  in  the  French 
and  Indian  war  and  in  1757  was  sent  as  an  emissaiy  to  the  Six  Nations  of  Indians 
to  enlist  their  cooperation  in  the  war  the  English.  Soon  after  the  close 
of  that  war  he  went  to  France  and  died  in  Tours  on  May  12,  1778. 


The  date  of  the  appointment  of  Jacques  Pierre  Daneau,  Sieur  de  Muy,  as 
commandant  of  Detroit  is  not  certain,  but  he  probably  succeeded  to  the  office 


upon  the  retirement  of  Celoron  in  the  spring  of  1754.  Little  ean  be  learned 
of  his  life,  farther  than  that  he  was  a  son  of  Nicolas  Daneau,  Sieiir  de  Muy, 
a  Chevalier  of  the  Militaiy  Order  of  St.  Louis,  at  one  time  governor  of  Louisi- 
ana, who  died  at  Havana,  Cuba,  on  January  25,  1708. 

Jacques  was  born  in  1695  and  married  Louise  Genevieve  Dauteuil  at  Montreal 
on  January  30,  1725.  Six  children  were  born  to  them.  He  held  the  office  of 
commandant  at  Detroit  until  his  death  on  May  18,  1758.  Events  during  his 
term  were  of  a  rather  tempestuous  nature,  owing  to  the  French  and  Indian  war, 
the  history  of  which  is  given  in  another  chapter.  Sieur  de  Muy  was  more  of  a 
student  and  diplomat  than  a  soldier,  and  during  these  stirring  times  depended 
largely  upon  the  officers  of  his  garrison  to  carry  out  the  plans  and  wishes 
of  his  superiors. 


Prior  to  the  death  of  Sieur  de  Muy,  Beranger  had  occupied  the  pasition  of 
second  in  command  at  the  post  of  Detroit.  A  few  days  after  the  funeral,  his 
name  appears  in  the  records  as  "lieutenant  in  the  troops  of  His  Majesty  and 
commandant  for  the  king  in  this  village."  He  remained  in  that  position  until 
the  arrival  of  the  regularly  appointed  commandant  chosen  to  succeed  de  Muy, 
after  which  he  again  took  up  his  old  place  as  second  in  command  until  the  sur- 
render of  Detroit  to  the  British  on  November  29,  1760. 

Beranger  was  a  native  of  France  and  a  son  of  Guillaume  Beranger,  Sieur 
de  Rougemont.  He  came  to  America  while  still  a  young  man  and  on  Ma.y  21, 
1750,  married  Catherine  Madeleine  Fafard  dit  Laframbois  at  Three  Rivers, 
where  she  was  born  on  August  23,  1723.  A  daughter  of  this  marriage,  Marie 
Magdeleine,  was  born  at  Detroit  on  February  9,  1760. 


The  last  French  commandant  at  Detroit  was  Francois  Marie  Pieote,  Sieur 
de  Belestre,  a  son  of  the  man  of  the  same  name,  who  was  acting  commandant 
at  times  during  the  term  of  Pierre  Alphonse  de  Tonty,  when  his  superior  was 
absent.  His  mother  was  the  widow  of  Jean  Cuillerier.  The  name  is  sometimes 
written  "  Bellestre, ' '  but  the  last  commandant  always  signed  his  name  with 
one  "1." 

In  some  respects  Belestre  was  the  most  conspicuous  of  the  French  com- 
mandants. He  was  an  efficient  and  energetic  officer,  fully  enjoying  the  con- 
fidence of  his  superiors,  and  was  frequently  entrusted  with  important  missions. 
In  1739  he  was  engaged  in  the  war  with  the  Indians ;  was  with  Celoron  in  1747 
to  convoy  provisions  to  Detroit ;  was  an  active  participant  in  some  of  the  early 
engagements  of  the  French  and  Indian  war,  commanding  a  body  of  British 
and  Indians  at  the  time  of  General  Braddock's  defeat  on  July  9,  1755.  Previous 
to  his  coming  to  Detroit  he  had  served  as  commandant  at  St.  Joseph.  At  the 
time  of  his  appointment  to  the  Detroit  post  he  held  the  rank  of  lieutenant.  The 
same  year  he  was  promoted  to  captain.  After  the  transfer  of  Canada  to  Eng- 
land he  occupied  several  important  positions  under  the  new  government.  His 
death  occurred  at  Quebec  in  May,  1793.  For  many  of  the  events  that  occurred 
at  Detroit  while  he  was  in  command,  including  the  surrender  to  the  English, 
see  the  chapter  on  the  "French  and  Indian  War." 

Bele-stre  was  born  in  Montreal,  where  on  July  28,  1738,  he  was  united  in 
marriage  with  ^larie  Anne  Nivard.     At  the  time  of  this  marriage  lie  was  about 


twenty  years  of  age,  having  been  born  in  1719.  Six  children  were  born  to  this 
union.  His  second  wife,  to  whom  he  was  naarried  on  January  29,  1753,  was 
Marie  Anne  Magnan. 


When  Cadillac  came  in  1701,  the  country  about  Detroit  was  uninhabited, 
being  a  sort  of  neutral  zone  between  the  Five  Nations  and  the  western  tribes. 
The  soil  was  first  cultivated  by  the  French,  whose  methods  were  so  superficial 
that  only  moderate  crops  were  raised.  There  was  no  incentive  to  raise  more 
than  they  did,  because  their  market  was  limited  to  the  villagers  and  Indians, 
and  most  of  the  former  had  gardens  of  their  own.  Voyageurs  convoying  goods 
to  the  upper  posts  were  occasional  customers.  Wheat  and  Indian  corn  were 
the  principal  crops.  The  price  of  wheat  varied  from  three  to  twenty-five  livres 
(60c  to  $5.00)  per  minot  or  bushel,  as  the  crop  was  abundant  or  scarce.  Bread 
was  usually  baked  by  the  public  baker. 

Until  about  1727  the  commandant  controlled  the  trade  of  the  post.  This 
system  gave  rise  to  so  much  dis.satisfaetion  that,  about  the  time  Deschaillons 
became  commandant,  trade  was  made  free.  At  that  time  there  were  only  about 
thirty  families  in  the  village  and  its  environs.  In  fact,  the  post  had  fallen  so 
low  that  it  was  ofHcially  proposed  to  abandon  Detroit,  if  the  owners  of  the 
trading  licenses  would  surrender  them  for  500  livres.  A  report  on  conditions 
at  that  time  says:  "We  shall  have  a  post,  abandoned,  300  leagues  from 
Montreal,  with  no  provision  made  for  the  garrison,  the  maintenance  of  which 
will  fall  on  the  king  again,  contrary  to  his  will." 

Under  the  free  trade  policy  an  improvement  was  soon  noticeable.  The  first 
records,  those  of  St.  Anne's  Church,  were  destroyed  by  fire  in  1703.  Later 
vital  statistics  were  kept  by  the  notary,  Robert  Navarre.  From  these  two 
sources  it  is  learned  that  between  the  years  1701  and  1730  there  were  143 
baptisms,  26  marriages  and  72  deaths.  The  next  decade  showed  156  baptisms, 
27  marriages  and  73  deaths,  more  of  each  than  during  the  first  twenty-nine 
years  of  the  town's  existence.  During  the  entire  period  of  the  Fi-ench  regime 
there  were  998  baptisms,  147  marriages  and  475  deaths. 

BRITISH  DOmNATION:     1760-1796 








The  period  of  British  domination  over  the  post  of  Detroit,  as  well  as  the 
other  western  posts,  begrins  with  the  siege  of  Quebee  by  General  Wolfe,  fol- 
lowed by  the  battle  of  the  Plains  of  Abraham,  where  "Wolfe  and  Montcalm 
met  their  deaths,  the  surrender  of  Montreal  and  the  moving  westward  of  British 
troops  to  take  possession  of  the  garrisons  like  Detroit  which  had  come  to  them, 
the  victors,  as  the  spoils  of  war.  Detroit  was  occupied  by  ]\Iaj.  Robert  Rogers, 
the  "New  England  Ranger,"  and  a  detachment  of  English  soldiers,  on  No- 
vember 29,  1760,  in  pursuance  of  the  articles  of  capitulation  of  September, 
1760,  though  the  final  treaty  of  peace  between  England  and  France  was  not 
concluded  until  February  10,  1763.  Ma.jor  Rogers  came  directly  to  Detroit 
from  Niagara,  some  of  his  men  arriving  in  bateaux  by  the  river  route,  while 
another  portion  of  the  force  marched  along  the  southern  shore  of  Lake  Erie, 
driving  a  herd  of  cattle  with  them.  This  force  of  men  which  accompanied 
Rogers  to  Detroit  was  composed  of  a  portion  of  the  Royal  American  Regiment, 
made  up  of  British  colonists,  and  part  of  the  Eightieth  Regiment. 

Thus,  Detroit  changed  from  a  French  colony  to  a  British  trading-post.  The 
French  had  always  been  amicable  with  the  Indians,  but  the  English  came  in 
with  the  intention  of  driving  out  the  Indian,  also  those  of  the  French  who 
were  not  amenable  to  their  customs  and  rule.  This  was  followed  naturally  by 
the  uprising  of  the  Indians  under  Pontiac,  the  siege  of  Detroit,  the  battle 
of  Bloody  Run  and  other  historical  incidents  before  an  era  of  tranquillity  and 
peace  was  to  settle  dowai  over  Detroit  under  British  government. 

When  the  English  took  possession  they  found  in  storage  furs  worth  ap- 
proximately half  a  million  dollars.  For  many  years  there  had  been  an  intense 
rivalry  between  the  French  and  English  for  the  control  of  the  fur  trade  about 
the  upper  lakes.  With  the  surrender  of  the  French  posts,  the  English  took 
steps  to  increase  the  trade  and  within  a  few  years  about  two  hundred  thousand 
skins  were  marketed  annually.  During  those  days  the  Detroit  River  was  a  great 
channel  of  commerce,  even  as  now,  but  in  the  place  of  the  lengthy  freighters 
one  sees  now,  there  were  numerous,  gaudily-decorated  canoes,  manned  by  the 
red  men  and  white  traders.  These  canoes  came  down  the  river  to  Detroit  loaded 
with  valuable  skins,  which  were  bartered  at  the  post.  At  night  these  canoes 
were  pulled  upon  the  shore,  turned  upside  down,  and  under  them  the  red  or 


3  ^  &  ?-  *>  ^  i 


white  owner  repcsed.  The  English  trader,  it  may  be  mentioned  in  this  con- 
nection, was  the  source  of  the  greater  part  of  the  trouble  which  arose  between 
the  English  and  the  Indians.  He  was  an  unscrupulous  fellow,  utterly  without 
principle,  and  his  methods  in  business  practice  soon  aroused  the  hatred  and  ire 
of  the  savages. 

This  condition,  with  the  military  despotism,  usurpation  of  authority  by 
civil  officers,  and  the  general  imrest  under  the  British  domineering  influence, 
caused  many  a  year  of  turmoil  before  prosperity  succeeded  poverty.  These 
features,  military  and  official,  are  narrated  at  length  in  other  chapters  of  this 


Maj.  Robert  Rogers  was  born  at  Dunbarton,  New  Hampshire^  in  1727.  His 
father,  James  Rogers,  Avas  an  Irishman  and  one  of  the  first  settlers  of  Dunbarton. 
From  boyhood  Robert  was  inured  to  the  hardships  of  frontier  life  and  assisted 
in  protecting  the  New  England  settlements  against  Indian  depredations.  In 
1755  he  was  commissioned  a  captain  by  Sir  "William  Johnson,  superintendent 
of  Indian  affairs,  to  drill  a  companj-  of  men  as  rangers.  The  company  was 
formed  of  volunteers  from  the  regulars  to  the  number  of  thirty-five,  also  fifteen 
Royal  Americans  and  six  men  selected  by  Rogers.  Under  the  leadership  of 
their  dashing  commander,  "Rogers'  Rangers"  played  an  important  part  in  the 
military  operations  in  eastern  New  York,  particularly  about  Crown  Point  and 
Ticonderoga.  They  performed  many  reckless  feats,  yet  so  skilfully  were  their 
movements  conducted  that  they  suffered  few  casualties.  Rogers  won  the  con- 
fidence of  his  superior  officers  and  was  promoted  to  major.  A  few  days  after 
the  surrender  of  New  France  to  the  British,  Gen.  Jei?rey  Amlierst,  commander 
of  the  English  forces  at  Quebec,  ordered  him  to  take  a  force  of  some  two  hun- 
dred men  and  occupy  Detroit.     (See  chapter  on  the  French  and  Indian  War.) 

Major  Rogers  remained  in  Detroit  but  a  short  time,  leaving  on  December 
23,  1760,  for  Port  Pitt.  He  then  joined  General  Grant's  expedition  against 
the  Cherokee  Indians,  after  which  he  went  to  London.  He  was  a  man  of  some 
education  and  while  in  England  arranged  for  the  publication  of  his  " Journals," 
one  edition  of  which  was  published  in  London  and  another  in  Dublin.  He 
returned  to  America  and  on  July  29,  1763,  while  Detroit  was  besieged  by  the 
Indians  under  Pontiac,  he  came  to  the  relief  of  the,  bringing  supplies  and 
reinforcements  for  the  garrison.  While  in  Detroit  on  this  occasion  he  took  part 
in  the  Battle  of  Bloody  Run. 

On  January  10,  1766,  he  was  appointed  commandant  at  Miehilimackinac. 
It  seems  that  Gen.  Thomas  Gage  wrote  to  Sir  William  Johnson  about  this  time 
to  learn  something  of  Major  Rogers'  character.  Sir  William  replied,  telling 
how  he  had  made  Rogers  an  officer  in  the  army,  and  added : 

"He  soon  became  puffed  up  with  pride  and  folly,  from  the  extravagant 
encomiums  and  notices  of  some  of  the  provinces.  This  spoiled  a  good  Ranger, 
for  he  was  fit  for  nothing  else.  *  *  *  He  has  neither  understanding  nor 
principles,  as  I  could  sufficiently  show." 

Notwithstanding  this  advei^se  report,  Rogers  assumed  command  at  Miehili- 
mackinac in  August,  1766.  The  Indians  were  not  friendly  to  the  English  and 
at  that  time  the  post  was  almost  deserted  by  white  men.  It  was  not  long  until 
Rogers  got  into  trouble  by  incurring  expenses  without  authority,  drawing  orders 
upon   the   government   which   afterwards   went   to  protest,   etc.      He   was   also 


charged  with  a  desigii  to  plunder  the  post  and  desert  to  the  French  at  New 
Orleans.  He  was  arrested  and  sent  to  ilontreal  for  trial,  the  principal  witness 
against  him  being  a  Colonel  Hopkins,  whose  own  loj-alty  was  not  above  suspicion. 
Rogers  was  aecjuitted  of  the  charge  of  treason  and  soon  afterward  went  again 
to  London. 

In  1775  he  returned  to  America  and  wrote  a  letter  to  General  Washington, 
offering  his  services  to  the  cause  of  the  colonists  in  the  war  with  Great  Britain. 
His  offer  was  not  accepted  and  many  thought  he  was  really  a  British  spy.  He 
then  accepted  a  commission  as  lieutenant-colonel  in  the  Queen's  Rangers  and 
became  active  in  the  English  cause.  On  October  21,  1776,  most  of  his  command 
was  captured  at  ilamoranec.  Long  Island  Sound,  and  Rogers  barely  escaped. 
In  1778  the  New  Hampshire  Legislature  passed  an  act  banishing  him  from  the 
colony,  but  hjs  estate  was  not  confiscated.  After  his  defeat  at  ]Mamoranec, 
Rogers  again  went  to  London  and  died  there  in  1800. 

About  the  time  Rogers  entered  the  army  he  married  ]Miss  Elizabeth  Bro^viie, 
of  Portsmouth,  New  Hampshire.  After  his  arrest  at  ^Miehilimackinac  she  ob- 
tained a  divorce  and  married  John  Roche.    She  died  May  11,  1811. 

Says  Parkman:  "An  engraved  portrait  of  Major  Rogers  was  published  in 
London  in  1776.  He  is  represented  as  a  tall,  strong  man,  dressed  in  the  costume 
of  a  Ranger,  with  a  powder  horn  slung  at  his  side,  a  gun  resting  in  the  hollow 
of  his  arm,  and  a  countenance  by  no  means  pi-epossessing. " 


The  territory  embracing  the  post  at  Detroit  was  at  this  time  under  the 
control  of  Sir  William  Johnson  and  Gen.  Thomas  Gage,  who  were  lieutenants 
of  Sir  Jeffrey  Amherst,  governor-general  of  the  British  colonies.  Although 
Major  Rogers  and  Colonel  Croghan,  who  led  the  British  troops  to  Detroit,  were 
his  superior  officers,  Capt.  Donald  Campbell  was  the  first  appointed  com- 
mandant at  this  post  pending  the  settlement  of  peace.  He  was  a  "canny  Scot," 
who  had  seen  militarj-  service  in  His  ^Majestj^'s  army  for  several  years  before 
coming  to  Detroit.  He  succeeded  !Major  Rogers  on  December  23,  1760,  and 
soon  afterw-ards  was  promoted  to  major.  At  the  time  the  British  took  posses- 
sion, the  fort  occupied  about  four  blocks  of  the  present  city,  such  as  might  be 
bounded  on  the  north  bj'  Larned  Street,  east  by  Griswold,  south  by  Wood- 
bridge,  and  on  the  west  bj-  a  line  near  Wayne  Street.  Early  in  the  year  1761 
Captain  Campbell  wrote  to  General  Amherst  as  follows: 

' '  The  fort  is  very  large  and  in  good  repair ;  there  are  two  bastions  toward 
the  water  and  a  large  bastion  toward  the  inland.  The  point  of  the  bastion  is 
a  cavalier  of  wood,  on  which  there  are  mounted  the  three-pounders  and  the 
three  small  mortars  or  coehorns.  The  palisades  are  in  good  repair.  There  is 
scaffolding  around  the  whole,  which  is  floored  only  toward  the  land  for  want 
of  plank ;  it  is  by  way  of  a  banquette.  There  are  seventy  or  eighty  houses 
in  the  fort,  laid  out  in  regular  sti'eets.  The  country  is  inhabited  ten  miles  on 
each  side  of  the  river  and  is  a  most  beautiful  country.  The  river  is  here  about 
nine  hundred  yards  over  and  very  deep.  Around  the  whole  village,  just 
witliin  the  palisades,  was  a  road  which  was  called  the  'Chemin  de  Ronde. '  " 

Campbell  was  instructed  to  reconcile  the  Indians  to  the  change  in  gov- 
ernment, and  presents  were  sent  to  him  for  distribution  among  them.  He 
was  also  directed  to  disarm  the  French  inhabitants,  but  as  many  of  them 
were  hunters  or  trappers,  to  have  disarmed  them  would  have  been  to  deprive 


them  of  their  means  of  earning  a  living.  The  order  was  then  modified  so  as 
to  apply  only  to  those  whose  loj-altj'  to  the  English  order  of  things  was  sus- 

This  was  the  first  step  toward  the  monopolization  of  the  fur  trade.  "Within 
a  few  years  the  English  completely  controlled  the  trade  in  furs,  and  the  Ca- 
nadians, as  the  French  were  termed,  were  driven  either  to  live  on  their  farms 
or  to  join  the  Indians  in  the  chase.  They  did  both.  During  the  spring  and 
summer  months  they  cultivated  a  small  patch  of  ground,  but  when  the  hunting 
season  opened  they  left  their  little  crops  to  be  taken  care  of  by  the  women  and 
children.  Even  in  the  summer,  a  large  part  of  the  farm  work  was  performed 
by  the  women,  the  men  spending  their  time  in  fishing,  or  in  associating  with 
the  Indians,  with  whom  most  of  them  were  on  intimate  terms. 

About  two  weeks  before  he  became  commandant.  Captain  Campbell  wrote 
to  Col.  Henry  Boquet,  commandant  at  Fort  Pitt:  "The  inhabitants  seem  very 
happy  at  the  change  of  government,  but  they  are  in  great  want  of  everj-thing." 
Boquet  undertook  to  supply  the  means  of  providing  for  this  want  by  giving  a 
permit  to  Thomas  Colhoon  to  take  a  stock  of  goods  to  Detroit  and  open  a  trading 
establishment.  Colhoon  embraced  the  opportunity  with  enthusiasm,  but  before 
he  was  ready  to  start  the  weather  grew  so  severe  that  he  gave  up  the  enterprise. 
Hamback  and  Van  Der  Velder,  two  Dutch  traders,  were  then  licensed  b.y  Boquet 
and  they  arrived  in  Detroit  in  January,  1761,  with  six  horses  and  the  first  stock 
of  goods  brought  to  the  post  after  the  beginning  of  British  rule. 

Major  Campbell  was  superseded  as  commandant  by  Maj.  Henry  Gladwin 
in  July,  1762,  but  remained  at  Detroit  as  second  in  command.  He  was  cruelly 
murdered  by  the  Indians  in  Julj^  1763,  an  account  of  which  is  given  in  the 
chapter  on  Pontiac's  Conspiracy.  He  was  universallj-  respected  by  both  the 
Indians  and  the  white  men  and  the  settlement  at  Detroit  prospered  while  he 
was  commandant. 


The  Gladwin  family  traces  its  descent  back  to  Thomas  Gladwin,  who  was 
born  in  Derbyshire,  England,  about  1605.  Maj.  Henry  Gladwin  was  born 
in  that  shire  in  1730,  entered  the  army  at  an  early  age,  and  in  1753  was  com- 
missioned as  a  lieutenant  in  Colonel  Dunbar's  regiment,  with  which  he  took 
part  in  the  campaign  that  ended  in  the  defeat  of  General  Braddock  at  Little 
Meadows  in  July,  1755.  He  was  then  made  a  captain  in  the  Eightieth  Regi- 
ment of  foot,  in  which  he  served  until  June  22,  1761,  when  he  was  promoted 
to  major  by  General  Amherst.  Captain  Gladwin  was  sent  to  relieve  Niagara 
in  1760. 

In  September,  1761,  he  came  to  Detroit  but  remained  only  a  short  time, 
during  which,  however,  he  suffered  from  fever  and  ague.  In  the  fall  he  was 
granted  a  leave  of  absence  and  permission  to  return  to  England.  On  March 
30,  1762,  he  married  in  England,  Miss  Frances,  daughter  of  Rev.  John  Beridge, 
and  immediately  returned  to  Detroit.  In  the  latter  part  of  July,  1762,  he  was 
made  commandant.  The  greater  part  of  his  term  as  commandant  was  taken 
up  in  defending  the  post  against  the  Indians  under  Pontiac,  the  story  of  which 
is  told  elsewhere.  In  the  fall  of  1764  he  again  obtained  a  leave  of  absence  and 
retm-ned  to  England.  It  is  doubtful  whether  he  ever  came  back  to  America. 
If  he  did  he  took  no  conspicuous  part  in  affairs.  The  inscription  on  his  monu- 
ment in  the  Wingerworth  Churchyard  in  Derby  is  as  follows : 


"Here  lieth  the  remaius  of  General  Heury  Gladwin.  He  departed  this  life 
on  the  22nd  day  of  Jiine,  1794,  in  the  sixty-second  year  of  his  age.  He  was 
distinguished  by  all  those  private  and  social  duties  which  constitute  the  man 
and  the  Christian.  Early  trained  to  arms  and  martial  deeds,  he  sought  fame 
amidst  the  toils  of  hostile  war,  with  that  ardour  which  animates  the  heart  of 
the  brave  soldier.  On  the  plains  of  Xorth  America  he  reaped  laurels  at  the 
battles  of  Niagara  and  Ticonderoga,  where  he  was  wounded.  His  courage  was 
conspicuous  and  his  memorable  defense  of  Fort  Detroit  against  the  attacks 
of  the  Indians  will  long  be  recorded  in  the  annals  of  a  gi-ateful  country. 

"Also  Mary  and  Henry,  sou  and  daughter  of  the  aforesaid  General  Henry 
Gladwin  and  his  wife,  who  died  in  infancy ;  Martha  Gladwin,  their  daughter, 
died  October  17,  1817,  aged  thirty -two. 

"Also  Frances,  sister  of  the  late  John  Beridge,  of  Derby,  il.  D.,  and  widow 
of  the  above  General  Gladwin,  died  October  16,  1817,  aged  seventy-four  years." 

In  this  inscription  there  are  several  statements  which  do  not  agree  with 
those  in  the  "Gladwin  Papers,"  published  in  the  "Michigan  Historical  and 
Pioneer  Collections."  In  the  latter  Gladwin's  date  of  birth  is  given  as  1730, 
and  the  date  of  his  death  as  June  22,  1791,  which  corresponds  more  nearly  with 
the  statement  on  his  tombstone  that  he  was  "in  the  sixty-second  year  of  his  age." 
His  wife  is  mentioned  in  the  Gladwin  Papers  as  the  daughter  of  Eev.  John 
Beridge,  while  the  epitaph  saj's  she  wa.s  the  sister  of  John  Beridge,  M.  D.  That 
the  monument  was  erected  several  j-ears  after  his  death  is  evidenced  by  the 
fact  that  the  inscription  includes  two  persons  who  died  as  late  as  1817,  though 
it  might  have  been  erected  earlier  and  that  part  of  the  inscription  added.  It 
is  quite  likely  that  his  death  occurred  in  1791. 


On  August  26,  1761,  Col.  John  Bradstreet  arrived  in  Detroit  with  a  large 
supply  of  provisions  and  a  considerable  military  force  for  strengthening  the 
garrison.  He  presented  his  credentials  to  Major  Gladwin  and  on  the  last  day  of 
the  month  assumed  command.  He  has  been  described  as  "a  man  of  little 
principle,  who  beguiled  the  Indians  into  treaties  they  did  not  understand,  and 
granted  lands  fraudulent!}-  obtained,  which  caused  much  trouble  in  later  years." 

One  of  Bradstreet 's  first  acts  was  the  consummation  of  a  deal  with  the 
Indians  by  which  they  ceded  for  the  use  of  white  settlers  a  strip  of  land  be- 
ginning just  west  of  the  fort  and  extending  to  Lake  St.  Clair.  This  brought 
on  a  conflict  of  schemes  for  private  interest  which  retarded  the  growth  of  the 
town.  The  fur  traders  antagonized  anj-  attempt  at  settlement,  because  the 
farmers  would  drive  away  the  beaver  and  other  animals,  and  thus  injure  their 
business.  Others  took  a  broader  view  of  the  matter.  They  foresaw  that,  if 
the  population  could  be  increased  to  a  point  to  justify  the  establishment  of  local 
manufactories,  the  people  could  be  supplied  M-ith  many  of  the  necessities  of 
life  without  having  to  depend  upon  the  long  canoe  voyages  from  Montreal  or 
Niagara,  and  at  the  same  time  be  relieved  from  paying  the  high  prices  charged 
hy  the  English  tradesmen.  Bi-adstreet's  poLicj-  was  of  such  a  vacillating  natui-e 
that  neither  side  to  the  controversy  received  much  encouragement.  The  traders 
hesitated  to  enlarge  their  stock  of  goods  and  the  title  to  the  land  was  so  un- 
certain there  were  but  few  purchasers. 

One  important  change  that  came  under  Bradstreet 's  administration  was  the 
reduction  of  taxes  and  the  manner  of  their  collection.     Under  the  old  French 


regime,  the  inhabitants  paid,  as  a  rent  to  the  crown,  an  annual  tax  of  from 
one  to  two  sols  per  front  foot  of  their  holdings.  The  early  English  conunaudants 
required  the  farmers  to  pay  a  tax  for  the  support  of  the  garrison  and  to  furnish 
one  cord  of  wood  for  each  acre  of  frontage  on  the  river.  In  1762  the  tax  on 
the  inhabitants  amounted  to  £184,  13s.  4d.  This  was  paid  in  skins  or  farm 
products.  The  same  year  the  wood  tax  was  increased  to  two  cords  per  acre. 
In  1764  the  tax  was  reduced  by  Bradstreet  to  £158.  The  next  year,  the  first 
money,  known  as  "New  York  Currency,"  began  to  circulate  in  Detroit.  After 
that  the  payment  of  taxes  in  skins  and  produce  was  gradualh'  discontinued. 

On  September  14,  1764,  Colonel  Bradstreet  left  seven  companies  of  his 
command  as  reinforcement  for  the  garrison,  with  Maj.  Robert  Bayard  as 
temporary  commandant,  and  set  out  for  Sandusky.  He  remained  at  SandiLskj- 
until  the  18th  of  October,  when  he  embarked  his  men  and  supplies  in  bateaux 
for  Niagara.  Near  Cleveland  a  severe  storm  suddenly  came  on,  in  which  twenty- 
five  of  the  bateaux,  nearly  all  the  baggage  and  ammimitiou  and  a  few  of  the 
men  were  The  rest  of  the  journey  was  made  by  land,  but  upon  the  march 
through  the  wilderness  the  men  became  separated  and  the  last  of  them  did 
not  reach  Niagara  until  late  in  December.  There  is  no  record  to  show  that 
Colonel  Bradstreet  ever  returned  to  Detroit. 


Bradstreet 's  successor  was  Lieut. -Col.  John  Campbell,  of  the  Seventh  Regi- 
ment. He  was  appointed  in  the  fall  of  1764,  but  did  not  arrive  in  Detroit  until 
early  in  the  following  year.  Under  British  domination,  the  mild  rule  of  the 
French  was  succeeded  by  a  sort  of  petty,  the  commandants  exercis- 
ing both  military  and  civil  authority.  The  citizens  were  relieved  to  some  extent 
from  oppressive  taxation  by  Colonel  Bradstreet,  but  under  Campbell  taxes 
were  higher  than  ever  before.  On  August  7,  1766,  the  following  protest  against 
his  policy,  in  the  matter  of  supporting  the  garrison  and  making  repairs  on 
the  fort,  was  presented  to  him  by  a  group  of  the  civilians. 

■'Detroit,  August  7,  1766. 
"To  John  Campbell,  Esq.,  Lieut. -Col.  and  Commandant  at  Detroit  and  its  de- 

"Sir — "We  have  taken  j-our  order  of  the  3d  inst.,  respecting  the  furnish- 
ing of  materials  by  us  for  repairing  this  fort,  into  consideration  and  find 
it  absolutely  impos-sible  to  comply  with  it.  The  requisition  made  of  us  few 
individuals  would  amount  to  at  least  £4,000,  New  York  Currency — a  sum 
by  far  too  great  for  the  whole  settlement  and  all  the  trading  people  from  dif- 
ferent places  now  residing  here  to  pay.  However,  that  we  may  not  be  looked 
upon  to  be  actuated  by  a  spirit  of  opposition,  we  have  taken  all  the  pains  in 
our  power  to  obtain  the  fullest  information  we  could  in  regard  to  the  obliga- 
tions we  are  supposed  to  lay  under  for  keeping  up  the  repairs  of  this  fort  upon 
its  present  plan.  We  find,  sir,  that  till  the  year  1750  the  fort  was  about  half 
the  extent  it  now  is.  The  inhabitants  till  then  were  obliged  to  furnish  one 
picket  for  each  foot  of  ground  they  possessed  in  front  within  the  fort  and  pay 
annually  two  sols  per  foot  to  the  Crown  by  way  of  quit  rent.  It  was  with 
difficulty  that  the  circumstance  of  this  place  could  accomplish  the  paj'ment 
of  their  dues  to  the  French  King;  of  which  he  proved  his  sensibility  by  easing 
the  inhabitants  of  the  heavy  burden  of  furnishing  pickets ;  for  from  that  time 
the  fort  was  enlarged  upon  an  entire  new  plan  at  the  sole  expense  of  the  Crown. 


The  annual  tax  of  two  sols  per  foot  in  front  was  continued  till  the  surrender 
of  the  country  to  the  English,  since  which  the  service  has  required  such  taxes 
of  us  that  they  have  been  almost  unsupportable.  Permit  lis,  sir,  to  mention 
them,  and  you  will  see  that  we  stand  in  greater  need  of  assistance  than  to  be 
obliged  to  pay  any  new  demands. 

"Captain  (Donald)  Campbell,  the  first  English  commandant  at  Detroit, 
on  his  arrival  here  levied  a  tax  on  the  proprietors  in  the  fort,  for  lodging  the 
troops,  which  amounted  to  a  very  considerable  sum ;  besides,  each  of  the  farmers 
was  obliged  to  pay  a  cord  of  wood  per  acre  in  front.  The  second  year  the  pro- 
prietors again  paid  for  quartering  the  troops  and  the  farmers  furnished  double 
the  quantity  of  wood  they  did  the  year  before. 

"The  third  year  Colonel  Gladwin  continued  the  same  taxes,  and  in  1762  the 
tax  within  the  fort  alone  amounted  to  £184,  13s.  4d.  In  the  year  1764  the 
taxes  came  to  £158,  New  York  Currency.  In  the  year  1765  you  said  to  Messrs. 
Babee  (Baby)  and  Shapperton  (Chapoton)  that  the  taxes  for  the  future  should 
be  the  same  as  in  the  French  government,  which  as  we  have  pointed  out,  was 
two  sols  per  foot  for  the  lots  within  the  fort.  The  farmers  were  subject  to  a 
quit  rent  of  two  shillings  and  eight  pence  New  York  Currency,  and  one-fourth 
bushel  of  wheat  per  acre  in  front,  which  was  accordingly  paid  to  Mr.  Shapper- 
ton, who  was  appointed  to  receive  the  same.  After  this  we  could  not  help  being 
surprised  at  the  tax  for  the  current  year,  viz.,  one  shilling  per  foot  in  front 
for  lots  within  the  fort  and  ten  sliillings  per  acre  for  the  farmers  in  the  country. 
The  heaviness  of  this  tax  is  most  severely  felt,  as  you  may  judge  by  the  delay 
and  difficulty  the  people  had  in  paj'ing  it." 

Campbell  left  Detroit  soon  after  this  protest  was  submitted  and  was  ap- 
pointed superintendent  of  Indian  affairs,  which  position  he  held  until  the  close 
of  the  Revolutionary  war.  In  General  Haldimand's  correspondence  frequent 
mention  is  made  of  orders  to  Lieutenant-Colonel  Campbell  to  send  supplies  to 
various  posts.  In  Campbell's  report  of  supplies  sent  to  Detroit,  Michilimackinac 
and  Niagara  during  the  year  ending  June  30,  1781,  he  states  that  Detroit  re- 
ceived 10,254  gallons  of  rum — more  than  was  sent  to  both  of  the  other  posts. 


Just  when  Capt.  George  Turnbull,  of  the  Second  Battalion,  Sixtieth  Regi- 
ment, became  commandant  at  Detroit  is  not  certain,  but  it  was  undoubtedly  in 
the  autumn  of  1766,  after  the  departure  of  Campbell.  A  letter  to  Turnbull 
from  Gen.  Thomas  Gage,  dated  October  6,  1766,  acknowledges  the  receipt  of 
the  former's  return  of  stores,  etc.,  sent  by  Major  Bayard,  who  was  Campbell's 
assistant.  The  following  extracts  from  General  Gage's  letter  throw  some  light 
upon  conditions  in  Detroit  at  that  time : 

""With  respect  to  the  inhabitants,  you  will  take  care  that  no  taxes  what- 
ever are  laid  upon  them.  *  *  *  As  for  the  King's  rights,  I  can  by  no 
means  give  them  up,  agreeable  to  the  desire  of  some  of  the  inhabitants  in  a 
memorial  brought  me  by  Major  Bayard.  -  It  is  not  in  my  power  to  do  it.  *  *  * 
After  ]Mr.  Van  Schaack's  proposal  about  the  cattle,  I  can  make  no  bargain 
about  it.  A  contract  is  made  at  home  to  supply  the  troops  and  I  must  keep 
up  to  it  and  take  provision  from  the  contractor.  But  I  shall  be  very  glad  that 
the  soldiers  have  an  opportunity  to  exchange  their  salt  meat  for  fresh.  *  *  * 
I  don't  hear  that  the  works  ordered  were  finished  when  Lieutenant-Colonel 
Campbell  and  Major  Bayard  left  Detroit." 


"When  Detroit  was  surrendered  by  the  French  in  1760  no  provision  was 
made  by  the  English  for  the  establishment  of  courts  of  law  in  the  surrendered 
territory  west  of  Quebec.  On  April  24,  1767,  Captain  Turnbull  appointed 
Philippe  Dejean  to  hold  courts,  hear  evidence  and  settle  disputes.  His  ofSce  " 
really  combined  the  duties  of  chief  justice,  notar\'  and  sheriff.  More  of  the 
insincere  Dejean  and  his  checkered  career  is  written  in  the  chapters  entitled 
"Law  and  Order  in  Early  Detroit." 

Dejean 's  conduct  did  not  meet  with  the  approval  of  the  citizens,  however, 
and  a  committee  of  investigation  made  a  report.  May  21,  1768,  after  having 
been  appointed  for  the  purpose  by  Commandant  Turnbull,  exonerating  the 
notary.    This  report  follows : 

"The  committee,  to  whom  was  referred  the  question  of  fees  collected  by 
Philip  Dejean,  find : 

"First,  That  the  fees  established  by  the  committee  appointed  by  Maj. 
Robert  Bayard,  on  the  establishment  of  the  Court  of  Justice  at  Detroit,  are 
just  and  reasonable  and  ought  not  to  be  less. 

"Second,  That  every  prisoner  confined  in  the  guard  house,  whether  for  debt 
or  misdemeanor,  shall  on  being  set  at  libert.y  pay  one  dollar,  and  eveiy  batteau 
or  canoe  arriving  here  loaded  with  merchandise  belonging  to  any  person  or 
pei-sons  not  possessing  in  property  any  lot  or  building  within  this  fort,  shall 
pay  two  dollars ;  the  moneys  accruing  therefrom  to  be  applied,  as  in  time  of 
the  French  government,  to  keep  in  good  and  sufficient  repair  the  fortifications 
around  this  town. 

"Third,  No  person  having  appeared  before  us  to  make  any  complaints 
against  said  Philip  Dejean,  with  respect  to  his  public  office,  we  are  of  the  opinion 
that  they  were  ill-founded  and  without  cause." 

This  report  was  signed  by  ten  of  the  committee  members  and  on  JuJie  14, 
1768,  Dejean  was  reappointed  notary. 


On  May  4,  1768,  King  George  III  and  his  Council  gave  to  Lieut.  George 
McDougall,  of  the  Detroit  garrison,  permission  to  occupy  the  He  aux  Cochons 
(Hog  Island),  so  long  as  Detroit  remained  a  military  post,  or  so  long  as  he 
was  there  stationed.  This  permission  was  given  on  condition  that  the  consent 
of  the  Indian  claimants  of  the  island  should  be  obtained,  and  that  any  improve- 
ments made  by  McDougall  should  be  of  such  nature  that  they  could  be  utilized 
for  the  needs  of  the  garrison.  Nothing  was  said,  however,  about  the  rights 
of  the  Detroit  citizens  to  the  island  as  a  public  commons,  where  they  could 
harbor  their  cattle  and  other  domestic  animals.  That  the  citizens  had  a  legiti- 
mate right  through  a  royal  grant  years  before,  during  the  French  regime,  has 
been  proved,  but  the  English  authorities  willfully  ignored  the  claim,  which 
brought  about  much  bitterness  and  litigation. 

On  June  5,  1769,  the  Chippewa  and  Ottawa  Indians  sold  the  island  to 
McDougall  for  five  barrels  of  rum,  three  rolls  of  tobacco,  three  pounds  of 
Vermillion  and  a  belt  of  wampum  at  that  time,  and  three  barrels  of  rum  and 
three  pounds  of  vermillion  when  the  purchaser  took  possession. 

The  inhabitants,  through  a  committee  composed  of  Jacques  Campau,  J.  Bte. 
Chapoton,  Eustache  Gamelin  and  Pierre  Reaume,  addressed  a  letter  on  May 
18,  1769,  to  Captain  Turnbull,  requesting  that  their  rights  to  the  island  be 
recognized,  and  that  he  communicate  with  General  Gage  and  Governor  Carle- 


ton  regarding:  the  matter.  Turubull  refused  to  do  as  the  citizens  requested, 
and  on  the  24th  following  they  wrote  to  the  "Gentlemen  of  Trade"  at  ilontreal, 
also  to  Carleton  and  Gage,  outlining  their  grievances,  their  inalienable  rights 
to  the  island,  as  a  "commons,"  and  imploring  a  restitution  of  their  rights. 
These  letters  are  printed  in  full  in  the  history  of  Belle  Isle  upon  another  page. 
Nothing  came  of  them,  however,  and  on  October  13,  1769,  the  authorities  of 
Detroit  held  a  meeting  with  the  citizens  and  the  question  was  debated.  The 
tide  turned  in  favor  of  McDougall  eventually  and  he  came  into  full  possession 
of  the  island  in  the  spring  of  1771. 

Capt.  George  TurnbuU  held  the  post  of  commandant  at  Detroit  until  the 
latter  part  of  1769,  and  was  probably  succeeded  for  a  few  months  by  Maj. 
Thomas  Bruce.  Farmer  states  that  the  latter  officer  was  in  office  from  June  2d 
to  September,  1770. 


In  September,  1770,  Capt.  James  Stephenson,  an  oiBcer  in  the  Second  Bat- 
talion, Sixtieth  Regiment,  was  appointed  commandant,  and  he  remained  the 
incumbent  until  January  8,  1772,  -when  he  was  succeeded  by  Captain  George 
Etherington.     Captain  Etherington  held  the  past  but  a  few  months. 

Etheringtou  had  been  one  of  the  officers  at  the  fort  in  Detroit  when  Major 
Gladwin  became  commandant  in  1762.  Soon  after  taking  charge  Gladwin  sent 
Etherington  to  Michilimackinac,  where  he  arrived  about  the  middle  of  Sep- 

June  2,  1763,  was  the  day  set  by  the  Indians  cooperating  with  Pontiac  for 
the  capture  of  the  fort  at  Michilimackinac.  On  that  daj'  a  large  number  of 
Indians  appeared  before  the  fort  and  engaged  in  a  game  of  ball.  This  was 
no  unusual  occurrence  and  Captain  Etherington  and  Lieutenant  Leslie  stood 
watching  the  game,  not  knowing  it  was  but  a  part  of  the  plot  for  the  reduction 
of  the  fort.  Soon  the  ball  was  knocked  inside  the  fort,  apparently  by  accident. 
Both  sides  rushed  to  recover  it  and  in  this  way  the  savages  gained  entrance. 
The  massacre  immediately  began  and  only  thirteen  of  the  gai'rison  escaped 
death.  Captain  Etherington  and  Lieutenant  Leslie  were  carried  into  captivity 
and  about  the  middle  of  July  they  were  taken  to  Montreal  by  a  party  of  Ottawa 
Indians.  Etherington  was  censured  for  not  taking  greater  precautions  against 
a  surprise  and  for  a  time  was  assigned  to  duty  in  positions  where  there  was 
not  much  responsibility. 


Of  all  the  English  commandants  at  Detroit,  perhaps  none  was  more  ener- 
getic in  trying  to  improve  conditions  than  Ma.ior  Bassett,  who  came  into  the 
position  in  the  fall  of  1772.  His  efforts  in  this  direction  ran  chiefly  toward 
the  adjustment  of  disputes  over  land  titles  and  in  endeavoring  to  prevent  the 
sale  of  intoxicating  liquors  to  the  Indians. 

Soon  after  he  became  commandant,  Jacques  Campau  applied  to  him  for 
a  grant  of  twelve  arpents  of  land  fronting  on  the  river.  In  support  of  his 
application,  Mr.  Campaii  filed  a  statement  to  the  effect  that  on  the  day  of  the 
battle  of  Bloody  Run  (July  31,  1763),  some  two  hundred  and  fifty  British 
soldiers  found  refuge  at  his  place  and  robbed  him  of  property  worth  about 
sixty  pounds.     Major  Bassett  interested  himself  in  Campau 's  behalf,  but  as  is 


usual  with  claims  against  a  government,  there  was  considerable  delay  before 
he  received  the  land. 

Major  Bassett,  in  the  fall  of  1772,  fenced  in  a  small  area  of  the  King's  Com- 
mon for  a  place  to  keep  his  horse.  This  caused  a  complaint  from  the  inhab- 
itants and  on  April  29,  1773,  the  commandant  wrote  to  Governor  Haldimand 
as  follows : 

"The  King's  domain  joining  the  fort  is  about  twelve  acres.  It  will  soon  be 
claimed  as  a  common  if  your  Excellency  does  not  order  the  front  to  be  picketed. 
I  made  a  small  field,  which  met  with  such  opposition  that  I  had  to  remove  the 
fence.  I  have  a  copy  out  of  the  Archives  of  Canada  where  it  is  called  the 
'King's  Domain,'  and  the  French  commanding  officers  proved  it  and  did  as 
they  thought  proper.  Since  the  English  settled  here,  no  officer  that  commanded 
(Colonel  Campbell  excepted)  has  ever  given  themselves  much  concern  about  it. 
The  traders  were  veiy  much  displeased  at  the  Colonel  for  taking  in  a  field 
just  where  I  have  done.  If  your  Excellency  will  allow  me  to  picket  the  front 
of  the  domain  I'll  do  it  in  the  most  frugal  manner  and  oversee  it  myself,  or 
if  your  Excellency  will  allow  me  £250  Sterling,  I'll  take  it  in  and  put  up 
handsome,  large  gates.  I'm  very  sure  it  will  cost  more,  but  for  the  convenience 
of  the  officers  of  the  garrison  I'll  pay  the  rest  out  of  my  own  pocket.  It  will 
be  the  saving  of  a  fine  tract  of  land  and  if  this  should  be  made  a  government 
it  will  be  veiy  valuable." 

When  it  became  known  to  the  people  of  Detroit  that  the  major  was  seeking 
authority  to  inclose  the  tract,  about  forty-two  acres  in  all,  they  sent  a  remon- 
strance to  Quebec,  saying  Ba.ssett  was  trying  to  get  possession  of  the  land  for 
his  own  use,  thus  defeating  his  project. 

In  the  autumn  of  1773  a  trader  from  Pittsburgh  named  McDowell  was 
occupj-ing  a  house  near  the  fort.  He  refused  to  sell  liquor  to  an  Indian,  who 
became  enraged  at  the  refusal  and  a  little  while  later  pushed  his  gun  through 
the  window  and  shot  McDowell  dead.  Major  Bassett  wrote  to  the  governor, 
giving  an  account  of  the  tragedy,  and  added : 

'"Trading  will  never  be  safe  while  the  sale  of  rum  continues;  the  leading 
chiefs  complain  that  the  English  are  killing  their  young  men  with  spirits.  They 
purchase  poison  instead  of  blankets  and  the  necessaries  of  life.  They  say  they 
lose  more  young  men  by  rum  than  they  lose  by  war.  It  is  not  in  the  power 
of  the  commandant  at  this  post  to  prevent,  for  the  traders  land  it  down  the 
river  and  have  a  thousand  tricks  to  deceive  the  commandant  and  cheat  the 
poor  savages." 

This  was  not  the  fii-st  complaint  Major  Bassett  had  made  against  the  traffic 
in  rum  and  its  efJect  upon  the  Indians.  But  those  engaged  in  the  fur  trade 
considered  it  an  important  factor  in  their  business  and,  as  rum  aided  them  in 
coining  the  Indian  character  into  pounds,  shillings  and  pence,  their  influence 
with  the  higher  authorities  was  greater  than  that  of  the  commandant. 

One  of  Major  Bassett 's  last  acts  as  commandant  was  to  cause  a  survey  of 
lands  to  be  made.     In  his  report  of  April  21,  1774,  he  says: 

"In  consequence  of  repeated  complaints  made  by  several  of  the  inhabitants 
that  their  neighbors  have  encroached  on  their  farms,  and  that  they  do  not 
actually  possess  the  quantity  specified  in  the  primitive  grants,  and  for  which 
they  pay  rents  to  His  Majesty;  therefore,  Mr.  James  Sterling  being  an  ex- 
perienced and  approved  surveyor,  I  have  appointed  him  King's  Surveyor  at 


Detroit;  and  for  the  future  his  surveys  only  shall  be  looked  upon  as  valid  and 
decisive;  and  all  whom  it  may  concern  are  hereby  ordered  to  conform  thereto." 


On  June  22,  1774,  the  British  Parliament  passed  what  is  known  as  "The 
Quebec  Act,"  for  the  government  of  all  the  Eng-lish  colonies  west  of  New  York 
and  northwest  of  the  Ohio  Eiver  to  the  Mississippi.  Then,  for  the  firet  time, 
the  post  at  Detroit  came  under  the  civil  administration  of  England.  Hitherto, 
the  control  over  the  town  had  been  pureh-  military,  although  the  military  often 
usurped  civil  authority.  When  Detroit  was  surrendered  to  the  English  in 
1760,  the  Indians  claimed  all  the  present  province  of  Ontario  except  a  few 
small  seigneuries,  and  the  Quebec  Act,  as  stated,  was  the  first  to  provide  for 
the  civil  government.  It  has  been  described  as  "An  act  which  established  a 
regime  something  between  a  feudal  system  and  a  despotism.  Its  object  was  to 
deprive  settlers  of  the  benefits  and  protection  of  English  law,  so  that  life  in 
the  West  would  be  such  as  to  discourage  settlers.  In  substance  it  placed  set- 
tlers under  the  old  French  law  of  the  province  in  civil  matters  and  under  the 
English  law  in  criminal  cases.  The  Quebec  Act  was  one  of  the  offenses  of 
Parliament  that  led  to  the  Revolution." 

The  act  was  one  of  those  referred  to  in  the  Declaration  of  Independence, 
where  the  King  and  Parliament  are  charged  with  endeavoring  "to  prevent  the 
population  of  these  states"  and  "for  abolishing  the  free  system  of  English 
laws  in  a  neighboring  province."  By  its  provisions  the  legislative  power  was 
vested  in  a  governor,  a  lieutenant-governor,  who  was  also  commander-in-chief 
of  the  military  forces,  and  a  council  of  not  fewer  than  seventeen  nor  more  than 
twenty-three  persons,  to  be  appointed  by  the  King.  In  April,  1775,  Detroit 
was  annexed  to  Quebec,  but  none  of  the  governors-general  ever  exercised  any 
civil  authority  over  this  region,  the  post  commandant  combining  the  functions 
of  militai'y  officer  and  civil  magistrate. 


John  Connolly,  that  turbulent  Tory  of  Revolutionarj-  days,  once  had  a 
virtual  appointment  as  commandant  over  the  past  at  Detroit,  where  he  intended 
to  effect  a  union  of  the  British  forces  and  the  Indians,  but  he  never  filled  the 
position.  Connolly,  a  friend  of  Washington's  and  a  relative  of  Colonel  Croghan 
and  Alexander  McKee,  was  nevertheless  one  of  the  most  troublesome  charac- 
ters produced  in  that  class  of  men  known  as  Tories.  Connolly  was  born  at 
Wright's  FeiTy,  York  County,  Pennsylvania,  the  son  of  John  and  Susanna 
Howard  (Ewing)  Connolly.  In  his  younger  days  Connolly  obtained  considerable 
militarj'  experience  and  spent  much  time  among  the  Indian  tribes,  studying  their 
customs  and  ingi-atiating  himself  with  the  chiefs.  He  fii*st  settled  in  Augusta 
County,  Virginia,  but  in  1770  he  was  in  Pittsbm-gli,  practicing  medicine,  a  pro- 
fession which  he  had  studied. 

In  1772  Lord  Dunmore,  governor  of  Virginia,  gave  to  Connolly  4,000  acres 
of  land  covering  part  of  the  site  of  the  present  Louisville,  Kentucky,  which  was 
then  a  part  of  Fineastle  County,  Virginia.  The  possession  of  this  land  gave  to 
Connolly  the  ambition  in  later  years  to  set  up  an  independent  goveniraent  of 
Kentucky,  which  desire,  however,  failed  of  materialization. 

Connolly  held  various  military  offices  in  the  Virginia  militia  in  1773-75 
and  took  active  part  in  the  boundary  dispute  between  Pennsylvania  and  Vir- 

House  built  about  1811 


ginia.  He  usurped  power  over  the  country  in  and  around  Pittsburgh  and  was 
a  practical  dictator,  his  rule  drawing  forth  many  complaints  on  account  of 
unnecessary  cruelty  and  high-handedness. 

At  the  outbreak  of  the  Revolution,  Connolly  naturally  allied  himself  with 
the  British  and  the  latter  used  him  as  a  missionary,  so  to  speak,  among  the 
Indians.  He  accepted  this  commission  on  several  conditions,  one  of  them  being 
that  he  was  given  the  position  of  major-commandant,  to  hold  forth  at  the  post 
of  Detroit,  where  he  would  accomplish  a  conjunction  of  the  British  troops  and 
the  friendly  Indians.  Before  he  had  proceeded  far,  though,  he  was  captured 
at  Frederick  Town,  identified,  his  papers  discovered,  and  he  was  thrown  into 
jail  at  Philadelphia.  He  remained  in  captivity  until  October  25,  1780,  when 
he  was  exchanged  for  an  American  ofScer. 

He  immediately  became  active  again  with  the  English  and  consequently 
was  recaptured.  He  was  paroled  some  time  later  on  the  condition  that  he  go 
to  England.     This  was  in  1782. 

Connolly  then  put  in  claim  for  the  property  he  owned  in  Fincastle  Comity 
and  other  places,  also  for  the  loss  of  personal  effects  during  the  war.  In  the 
winter  of  1787-8  he  came  to  Detroit  from  Quebec,  and  then  went  to  Louisville, 
ostensibly  to  see  about  his  confiscated  estate,  but  really  to  form  Kentucky  into 
an  independent  government,  with  the  assistance  of  Spanish  interests.  In  this 
undertaking,  however,  he  was  very  unsuccessful  and  he  returned  to  British 
territoi-y,  dj'ing  at  Montreal  on  January  30,  1813.  In  religious  matters  Con- 
nolly professed  the  Roman  Catholic  faith.  (The  detailed  story  of  this  in- 
teresting character  of  the  Revolution  is  given  in  the  pamphlet  "John  Connolly, 
a  Tory  of  the  Revolution,"  by  Clarence  M.  Burton,  published  in  1909.) 


Upon  the  retirement  of  Major  Bassett  in  1774,  Capt.  Richard  Beringer 
Lernoult  came  to  the  post  as  commandant.  The  Revolutionai-y  "War  began  with 
the  battle  of  Lexington  in  April,  1775,  and  early  in  June,  Sir  Guy  Carleton, 
governor-general  of  Canada,  issued  his  proclamation  establishing  martial  law 
in  the  country  around  the  upper  lakes.  In  November  of  that  year  Capt.  Henry 
Hamilton,  of  the  Fifteenth  Regiment,  arrived  in  Detroit  with  a  commission  as 
lieutenant-governor  and  became  the  virtual  commandant,  though  Captain  Ler- 
noult retained  the  title.  Detroit  then  became  the  active  base  for  fitting  out 
Indian  war  parties.     (See  chapter  on  the  Revolutionarj'  War.) 

When  Hamilton  ordered  the  execution  of  Jean  Baptiste  Conteneineau  and 
a  negro  woman  in  1776,  Captain  Lernoult  refused  to  act  as  hangman.  Whether 
this  had  anything  to  do  with  his  removal  as  commandant  is  not  positively 
known,  but  he  was  ordered  to  Niagara.  Some  writers  have  stated  that  he  was 
succeeded  by  Major  De  Peyster,  but  if  so  the  latter  occupied  the  position  for 
a  very  short  time,  as  the  name  of  Captain  Lord  appears  as  commandant  in  the 
latter  part  of  1776.  The  name  of  Captain  Montpasant  has  also  been  mentioned 
as  commandant  for  a  shoi't  period  about  this  time. 

Captain  Lernoult  stood  high  in  the  estimation  of  his  superiors.  When 
Hamilton's  overbearing  disposition  got  him  into  a  controversy  with  some  of 
the  officers  of  the  garrison,  Governor  Carleton  wrote  on  September  24,  1777, 
to  Lieut. -Col.  Mason  Bolton,  commandant  at  Niagara,  as  follows: 

"I  understand  that  a  disagreement  has  happened  at  Detroit  between  the 
officer  who  has  commanded  there  in  the  absence  of  Captain  Lernoult  and  the 


Lieiitenaut-Govenior,  which  must  lie  attended  with  bad  consequences  to  the 
King's  service.  I  am  to  desire  you  will  order  Captain  Lernoult  to  return  and 
take  command  of  the  post,  on  whose  judgment  and  discretion  I  can  thoroughly 
rely  to  put  an  end  to  these  animosities.  I  make  no  doubt  he  will  be  aiding 
and  assisting  Mr.  Hamilton  in  all  things  in  his  department,  and  in  forwarding 
everything  else  which  may  tend  to  the  public  good." 

The  commandant  referred  to  in  Governor  Carleton's  letter  was  the  Captain 
Lord  already  mentioned.  He  was  an  officer  in  the  Eighteenth  Regiment  and 
had  been  commandant  at  one  of  the  posts  in  the  Illinois  country  before  coming 
to  Detroit.  According  to  John  Dodge,  the  disagreement  was  caused  by  Hamil- 
ton's treatment  of  Jonas  Schindler.  a  silvei-smith,  who  had  been  tried  for  some 
offense  and  acquitted  by  a  jury.  Notwithstanding  the  verdict  of  acquittal, 
Hamilton  oi-dered  Mr.  Schindler  to  be  drummed  out  of  town.  "When  the  drums 
entered  the  citadel,  in  order  to  reach  the  west  gate.  Captain  Lord  ordered  them 
to  be  silenced,  saying:  "Mr.  Hamilton  may  exercise  what  acts  of  cruelt.y  and 
oppression  he  pleases  in  the  town,  but  I  shall  sutfer  none  in  the  citadel ;  and  I 
shall  take  care  to  make  such  proceedings  known  to  some  of  the  iirst  men  in 

Captain  Lernoult  returned  to  Detroit  in  December,  1171,  and  during  the 
winter  he  assisted  Hamilton  materially  in  organizing  an  expedition  to  move 
against  Fort  Pitt  as  soon  as  the  weather  would  permit  in  the  spring  of  1778. 
When  Hamilton  left  for  Vincennes  in  October,  1778,  Lernoult  began  the  con- 
struction of  the  new  fort  which  bore  his  name  when  it  was  completed.  As 
Philip  Dejean  accompanied  Hamilton  to  Vincennes,  Detroit  was  left  without 
a  justice  of  the  peace.  Captain  Lernoult  appointed  Thomas  Williams,  father 
of  John  R.  Williams,  Detroit's  first  mayor  in  1824.  Lernoult  had  no  authority 
to  make  such  an  appointment,  but  he  promptly  notified  the  Quebec  authorities 
of  what  he  had  done  and  in  1779  Mr.  Williams  was  regularly  commissioned 
by  Governor  Haldimand,  who  had  succeeded  Sir  Guy  Carleton. 

On  August  28,  1779,  Captain  Lernoult  was  promoted  to  major,  by  order 
of  Governor  Haldimand,  who  in  the  preceding  April  had  expres.sed  his  pleasure 
"to  hear  of  the  good  dispositions  Captaiu  Lernoult  has  made  at  Detroit."  On 
the  day  after  this  promotion  Haldimand  ordered  Lernoult  to  deliver  the  post 
at  Detroit  to  Col.  Arent  Schuyler  De  Peyster  and  proceed  to  Niagara. 


This  Detroit  commandant  was  born  in  New  York  City  on  June  27,  1736, 
and  was  the  gi'andson  of  Col.  Abraham  Schuyler.  When  nineteen  years  of 
age  he  entered  the  army  as  a  member  of  the  Eighth  Regiment  and  served  in 
various  parts  of  North  America  under  his  uncle.  Col.  Peter  Schuyler.  Before 
assuming  command  at  Detroit  in  October,  1779,  he  had  been  commandant  at 
]\Iichilimackinac  and  other  posts.  At  the  time  he  came  to  Detroit  he  held  the 
rank  of  colonel,  which  he  had  won  by  honorable  promotions  through  his  valor 
as  a  soldier  and  ability  as  a  commander.  He  was  a  man  of  pleasant  disposi- 
tion, fond  of  congenial  companionship,  and  he  and  his  wife  took  an  active  part 
in  the  social  life  of  Detroit  during  their  stay  at  the  By  his  tact  and  the 
adoption  of  conciliatory  measures  he  kept  the  Indians  loyal  to  the  English 
cause,  at  the  same  time  undertaking  to  keep  on  good  terms  with  the  Freacli 

In   1lic   smiimer  of   1780,   in   ordei'   tn    irrpnve   the   co.v.di'iim   at   flic    j-ost. 


De  Peyster  resolved  to  encourage  the  cultivation  of  ground.  On  the  13th  of 
July  he  wrote  to  Governor  Haldimand,  asking  him  to  reclaim  the  "ground 
commonly  known  as  Hog  Island  and  appropriate  it  to  the  above  mentioned 
purpose."  This  island,  it  will  be  remembered,  had  been  sold  by  the  Indians 
to  Lieutenant  McDougall  in  1769,  and  De  Peyster  wrote:  "As  I  wish  to  make 
Mrs.  McDougall  a  reasonable  compensation  for  what  houses,  etc.,  may  be  found 
upon  the  island,  you  will  please  appoint  proper  persons  to  appraise  them  and 
transmit  to  me  their  report."  Mrs.  McDougall  was  the  daughter  of  Navarre, 
the  royal  notary  of  Detroit. 

The  buildings  were  appraised  in  September  by  Nathan  Williams  and  J.  B. 
Craite  and  were  reported  to  be  worth  £334.  Immediately  after  the  appraise- 
ment De  Peyster  wrote  to  Haldimand  that  he  proposed  to  settle  a  Mr.  Riddle 
and  his  family  upon  the  island,  reserving  a  part  of  the  meadow  for  the  grazing 
of  the  King's  cattle.     The  island  wa.s  later  restored  to  the  McDougall  heirs. 

De  Peyster  often  expressed  his  displeasure  at  the  cruelties  practiced  by 
the  Indians,  and  after  the  surrender  of  Lord  Cornwallis  in  October,  1781,  he 
urged  them  to  bring  in  more  prisoners  and  fewer  scalps.  In  a  communication 
to  the  Delaware  Indians  he  said:  "I  am  pleased  when  I  see  what  you  call  live 
meat,  because  I  can  speak  to  it  and  get  information.  Scalps  serve  to  show 
that  you  have  seen  the  enemy,  but  they  are  of  no  use  to  me.  I  cannot  speak 
with  them." 

Upon  coming  to  Detroit,  De  Peyster  followed  the  example  of  Lieutenant- 
Governor  Hamilton  and  appropriated  a  portion  of  the  rents  received  for  the 
use  of  lands  belonging  to  the  crown,  though  subsequently  he  was  called  upon 
to  account  for  the  money  thus  taken  for  his  private  benefit.  On  November 
21,  1782,  he  wrote  a  letter  of  protest,  claiming  that  he  had  saved  the  govern- 
ment at  least  ten  thousand  pounds,  and  if  he  should  be  required  to  refund  the 
rents  it  would  be  quite  a  burden  upon  him,  as  he  had  "lived  up  to  them  in 
support  of  the  dignity  of  a  British  commandant."  He  was  not  acciLsed  of 
dishonesty,  having  merely  followed  a  precedent,  but  the  government  insisted 
that  the  rents  should  be  refunded. 

Colonel  De  Peyster  was  something  of  a  poet  and  while  in  Detroit  he  wrote 
a  number  of  rhymes  relating  to  local  customs,  amusements,  etc.  His  wife  was 
a  native  of  Dumfries,  Scotland,  and  after  the  Revolutionaiy  War  they  went 
there  to  live.  He  then  collected  his  verses  and  other  writings  and  published 
them  under  the  title  of  "Miscellanies  of  an  Officer."  At  the  time  of  the  French 
Revolution,  he  took  an  active  part  in  organizing  and  drilling  the  "Gentlemen 
Volunteers"  of  Dumfries,  of  which  organization  Robert  Burns  was  a  member. 
Burns  wrote  the  following  stanza,  which  was  published  in  the  Dumfries  Journal: 

"Who  will  not  sing  'God  save  the  King' 
' '  Shall  hang  as  high  's  the  steeple ; 
"But  while  we  sing  'God  save  the  King,' 
"We'll  ne'er  forget  the  people." 

To  this  De  Peyster  replied  and  for  some  time  the  two  carried  on  a  poetic 
correspondence  in  the  columns  of  the  Journal.  This  resulted  in  a  lasting  friend- 
ship between  them.  A  day  or  two  before  Burns'  death,  De  Peyster  sent  a 
messenger  to  inciuire  after  the  poet's  health  and  Burns  wrote  the  poem  be- 
ginning : 


"My  honour 'd  colonel,  deep  I  feel 
"Your  interest  in  tlie  poet's  weel; 
"Ah!  now  sma'  heart  hae  I  to  speel 

"The  steep  Parnassus, 
"Surrounded  thus  by  bolus  pill 

"And  potion  glasses." 

This  was  the  last  poem  Burns  wrote.  He  died  shortly  afterward  and  was 
buried  with  militarj-  honors.  Colonel  De  Peyster  died  at  Dumfries  on  Novem- 
ber 2,  1832,  in  the  ninety-seventh  year  of  his  age,  and  was  buried  in  the  same 
churchyard  as  Robert  Bums.  Although  more  of  De  Peyster 's  activities  is 
written  in  the  chapters  dealing  with  the  militaiy  history  of  Detroit,  the  fol- 
lowing poem  of  his  composition  is  here  given  to  illustrate  the  light-hearted 
style  of  the  verse  which  flowed  from  his  pen: 

"To  a  Beautiful  Young  Lady,  who  had  on  One  of  those  Abominable 
Straw  Caps  or  Bonnets  in  the  Form  of  a  Bee-Hive. 

"While  you  persist  that  cap  to  wear, 

"Miss,  let  a  friend  contrive, 
"So  that  the  bees,  when  swarming  near, 

"Sha'n't  take  it  for  a  hive. 

"For,  lest  j'ou  some  precaution  take, 
"I'll  be  in  constant  dread 
,   "That,  through  a  mouth  so  sweet,  they'd  make 
"A  lodgment  in  your  head. 

"Where  such  loud  buzzing  they  would  keep, 

"And  so  distract  your  brain, 
"That  you'd  not  get  one  wink  of  sleep 

"Till  they  buzzed  out  again. 

"Wlierefore,  to  disappoint  the  bees, 

"What  I'd  advise  is  this: 
"Close  j'our  sweet  lips,  when,  if  you  please, 

"I'll  seal  them  with  a  kiss." 


Jehu  Hay,  the  last  lieutenant-governor  of  Detroit,  was  born  in  Chester, 
Pennsylvania,  and  in  1758  he  enlisted  in  the  Sixtieth  American  Regiment.  In 
1762  he  was  a  lieutenant  at  Detroit  and  served  here  during  the  siege  of  the  town 
by  Pontiac  the  following  year.  In  1774  he  was  selected  by  General  Haldimand 
to  visit  the  Illinois  country  and  report  upon  the  conditions  there.  Two  years 
later  he  was  made  deputy  Indian  agent  and  major  of  the  Detroit  militia.  He 
accompanied  Hamilton  to  Vincennes  in  1778,  was  captured  there  and  taken  to 
Virginia  as  a  prisoner  of  war.  On  October  10,  1780,  he  was  paroled  to  go  to 
New  York,  and  the  following  year  he  was  exchanged. 

In  1782  he  was  appointed  lieutenant-governor  of  Detroit,  but  did  not  as- 
sume the  duties  of  the  position  until  more  than  a  year  later  on  account  of 
objections  on  the  part  of  Colonel  De  Peyster,  who  wrote  to  Governor  Haldi- 
mand that  he  "did  not  wish  to  have  anything  to  do  with  Mr.  Hay."  Later, 
in  October,  1783,  Colonel  De  Peyster  was  ordered  to  Niagara,  but  it  was  so 
late  in  the  season  that  his  departure  was  delayed  until  the  next  spring,  and 


Hay  did  not  arrive  in  Detroit  until  July  12,  1784.  When  he  did  arrive  he 
found  the  powei-s  of  the  office  much  restricted.  By  Governor  Haldimand's 
orders,  Sir  "William  Johnson,  before  his  death  in  1774,  had  made  the  distribu- 
tion of  goods  to  the  Indians  and  his  methods  were  now  followed,  although  Hay 
protested  that  it  was  a  usui-pation  of  his  functions.  It  has  been  stated  that 
Hay  paid  a  large  sum  of  money  for  the  appointment  and  was  naturally  dis- 
appointed when  some  of  his  perquisites  were  taken  away  from  him.  Hay  was 
of  disagreeable  disposition  and  had  few  friends,  his  bearing  being  caused  in 
part,  however,  by  ill  health.  His  death  occurred  at  Detroit  on  August  2,  1785. 
His  widow,  whose  maiden  name  was  Marie  Reaume,  and  to  whom  he  was  mar- 
ried January  22,  1748,  died  at  Detroit,  March  23,  1795. 

In  the  summer  of  1911  workmen  employed  in  the  excavation  of  a  sewer 
on  Jefferson  Avenue  unearthed  a  black  walnut  coffin  containing  a  human  skel- 
eton. C.  M.  Burton,  city  historiographer,  made  a  careful  investigation  of  the 
discovery  and  reached  the  conclusion  that  the  skeleton  was  that  of  Jehu  Hay. 
The  fact  that  a  black  walnut  coffin  indicated  a  person  of  importance,  as  the 
common  people  upon  interment  were  seldom  given  the  luxury  of  even  a  pine 
coffin,  also  that  the  body  was  found  at  the  site  of  the  "governor's  gardens," 
wherein  history  records  that  Hay  was  buried,  led  to  the  almost  certain  identifi- 
cation of  the  remains. 


After  the  departure  of  Colonel  De  Peyster  in  the  spring  of  1784,  Maj. 
William  Anerum  came  to  Detroit  as  military  commandant.  The  Revolutionary 
War  was  over  and  the  duties  Major  Anerum  was  required  to  perform  were 
much  less  onerous  than  those  of  his  immediate  predecessors.  Soon  after  his 
arrival  the  Moravian  Chippewa  Indians  removed  from  the  Clinton  (Huron) 
River  to  the  Cuyahoga  in  Ohio.  Major  Anerum  and  John  Askin  purchased 
their  improvements  for  $450  and  some  of  the  cabins  were  occupied  by  tenants 
for  several  years. 

The  one  subject  in  which  the  British  were  at  that  time  deeply  interested 
was  how  to  retain  the  friendship  of  the  Indians.  Major  Anerum  exerted  him- 
self in  this  direction  and  on  May  8,  1786,  wrote  to  Lieut. -Gov.  Henry  Hope  as 
follows : 

"The  Indians,  from  everything  I  can  learn,  are  veiy  much  attached  to  our 
interest,  and  very  much  incensed  against  the  Americans,  particularly  against 
Clark  and  the  other  commissioners  joined  with  him  to  treat  with  them,  and 
thej'  have  been  for  that  purpose  at  the  mouth  of  the  Great  Miamis  ever  since 
the  1st  of  October  last  until  very  lately.  Clark  himself  is  gone,  I  understand, 
towards  Post  St.  Vincent  to  treat  with  the  Wabache  Indians,  and  the  other 
commissioners  are  returned  home. 

"I  have  lately  heard  that  several  parties  of  Indians  of  different  nations 
have  gone  out  to  war  against  the  frontiers  of  the  American  States.  I  do  not 
think  that  the  Indians  will  ever  suffer  the  Americans  to  draw  their  boundary 
lines,  survey  or  settle  any  part  of  their  country." 

Several  of  the  British  commandants  were  in  the  habit  of  subjecting  the 
French  inhabitants  to  all  sorts  of  petty  tyranny.  Major  Anerum  was  one  of 
these  and  the  following  storj',  as  told  bj*  the  late  Judge  Henry  H.  Riley,  shows 
how  he  fared  on  one  occasion: 

"About  sunrise  one  morning  Jacques  Peltier  was  bringing  a   bucket  of 


water  from  the  river,  wlien  Major  Ancrum,  the  British  otfieer  commanding  at 
the  post,  met  him  and  in  mere  wantonness  kicked  the  bucket  over.  Peltier's 
French  blood  arose  at  the  insult  and  with  a  'sacrege'  he  told  him  that  if  it 
were  not  for  his  red  coat  he  would  give  him  a  flogging.  The  major  was  a  boxer ; 
off  went  the  red  coat  and  there,  all  alone,  at  it  they  went.  The  square-built, 
muscular  Frenchman  was  too  much  for  John  Bull.  Ancrum  got  a  sound 
thrashing,  but  as  he  put  his  coat  on  again  he  said  good-naturedly,  'Well,  damn 
it,  don't  say  anything  about  it,'  and  went  away." 


On  July  6,  1779,  Colonel  De  Peyster.  then  commandant  at  Miehilimackinac, 
wrote  to  Lieut.-Col.  Mason  Bolton  : 

"On  the  3rd  inst.  I  received  intelligence  that  the  rebels  were  forming  an 
expedition  against  Detroit  from  the  Illinois,  composed  of  700  men,  by  the  Wa- 
bash and  Miami  Indians,  and  200  Horse  to  pass  by  St.  Joseph.  One  Linetot, 
a  Canadian  trader,  commands  the  Horse.  On  receiving  these  accounts  I  im- 
mediately dispatched  Lieutenant  Bennett  with  1  sergeant,  2  corporals,  1  drum- 
mer and  14  privates,  with  about  60  traders  and  canoe  men  and  200  Indians 
to  take  post  at  St.  Joseph's  to  watch  Mr.  Liuctot's  motions  and  intercept  him." 

This  is  the  first  mention  to  be  found  of  Lieutenant  Bennett,  who  was  later 
to  become  commandant  at  Detroit.  On  August  3,  1779,  he  held  a  council  with 
the  Pottawatomi  Indians  at  St.  Joseph's  and  on  the  15th  of  the  same  month 
wrote  to  Major  Lernoult  that  he  was  ordered  to  return  to  Miehilimackinac  and 
would  be  unable  to  render  any  assistance  at  Detroit.  The  following  December 
he  was  promoted  to  the  rank  of  captain  and  about  two  years  later  he  attended 
two  Indian  councils  at  Detroit — one  on  December  10,  1781,  and  the  other  on 
the  26th  of  that  month. 

On  September  22,  1784,  he  wrote  to  Colonel  De  Peyster,  requesting  him  to 
use  his  influence  to  secure  for  him  the  appointment  as  commandant  at  Detroit, 
but  he  did  not  come  to  the  post  until  1786  and  then  held  the  position  for  only 
a  few  weeks. 


Captain  Matthews  was  an  officer  in  the  Eighth  (or  King's)  Regiment  during 
the  gi'eater  part  of  the  Revolutionary  war.  He  is  first  mentioned  in  the  reports 
from  Niagara  in  November,  1778,  as  having  built  a  log  house  at  that  post  for 
the  use  of  the  garrison.  On  Ma,y  20,  1779,  Lieut.-Col.  Mason  Bolton  wrote  to 
General  Haldimand  from  Niagara: 

"I  have  received  an  express  from  Detroit  with  several  letters  and  other 
papers,  which  I  am  forwarding  by  Captain  Matthews,  who  is  well  acquainted 
with  all  of  our  ti'ansactions  here,  has  a  thorough  knowledge  of  these  posts,  and 
is  very  capable  of  furnishing  your  Excellency  wilh  many  particulars  necessary 
for  your  information." 

It  seems  that  Captain  Matthews  made  such  a  good  imjjression  upon  General 
Haldimand  thaf  he  became  the  governor's  private  secretary.  He  is  mentioned 
in  a  letter  written  by  Adam  Mabane  to  Haldimand  Januarv  5,  1786,  as  "Lieu- 
tenant-Governor of  Detroit,"  but  he  had  not  yet  received  his  appointment. 
Early  in  the  spring  of  1787  he  left  ^Montreal  to  take  conunand  at  Detroit  and 
his  first  letter  to  General  Haldimand  after  taking  charge  of  the  post  was  dated 
August  3,  1787.     Captain  ilatthews  remained  at  Detroit  a  little  over  a  year.    A 


Major  Wiseman  is  mentioned  by  Silas  Farmer  as  a  commandant  in  1787,  but 
if  he  held  the  position  it  was  but  for  a  very  short  interval. 


On  Julj'  24,  1788,  the  Canadian  Council  created  several  court  and  land  dis- 
tricts, one  of  which  was  the  District  of  Hesse,  on  the  east  side  of  the  Detroit 
Eiver.  The  land  board  for  this  district  was  composed  of  Maj.  Patrick  Murray, 
William  Dummer  Powell,  Alexander  McKee,  William  Robertson  and  Alexander 
Grant.  The  minutes  of  the  first  meeting  of  the  land  board  are  signed :  "Patrick 
Murray,  Major  in  the  Sixtieth  Regiment,  commanding  Detroit,  and  first  member 
of  the  land  board." 

Major  Murray  is  mentioned  by  Lieutenant-Governor  Hamilton  in  a  com- 
munication dated  April  26,  1778,  as  then  being  barrack  master  at  Quebec.  A 
change  was  made  in  the  land  board  in  1790,  when  Murray  was  succeeded  by 
Major  Smith. 


At  a  meeting  of  the  land  board  of  Hesse  held  on  July  30,  1790,  Maj.  John 
Smith  was  chairman  and  his  son,  David  William  Smith,  afterward  Sir  David 
Smith,  was  secretary.  The  former  was  a  major  in  the  Fifth  Regiment  and  the 
son  was  an  ensign  in  the  same.  Early  in  the  year  1792  both  were  transferred  to 
Niagara,  leaving  the  post  temporarily  in  the  hands  of  Maj.  William  Glaus  until 
the  arrival  of  the  new  commandant.    Major  Smith  died  at  Fort  Niagara  in  1794. 


The  last  English  commandant  at  Detroit  was  Col.  Richard  England,  com- 
mander of  the  Twenty-fourth  Regiment,  who  came  in  the  early  summer  of  1792. 
Colonel  England  was  an  unusually  large  man  and  John  A.  McClung,  in  his 
"Sketches  of  Western  Adventure,"  says: 

"After  his  return  to  England,  the  waggish  Prince  of  Wales,  who  was  him- 
self no  pigmy,  became  desirous  of  seeing  him.  Colonel  England  was  one  day 
pointed  out  to  him  by  Sheridan,  as  he  was  in  the  act  of  dismounting  from  his 
horse.  The  prince  regarded  him  with  marked  attention  for  a  few  minutes  and 
then,  turning  to  Sheridan,  said  with  a  laugh,  'Colonel  England!  You  should 
have  said  Great  Britain.'  " 

Colonel  England  came  to  Detroit  a  few  months  after  the  defeat  of  General 
St.  Clair,  and  the  Indians  were  in  a  state  of  unrest,  fearing  another  American 
invasion.  For  a  year  Detroit  was  visited  by  parties  of  Indians  begging  assist- 
ance from  their  English  father.  When  Fort  Miami  was  built  at  the  foot  of 
the  Maumee  Rapids  in  the  spring  of  1794,  Colonel  England  sent  nearly  all 
his  force  and  the  greater  part  of  his  ordnance  to  check  the  advance  of  General 
WajTie.  After  the  battle  of  Fallen  Timbers  the  troops  returned  to  Detroit. 
On  September  1,  1794,  Colonel  England  made  a  return  of  all  the  ordnance 
stores  at  Detroit ;  showing  the  condition  of  the  post. 

On  June  6,  1796,  when  it  was  understood  that  Detroit  was  soon  to  be  turned 
over  to  the  United  States,  the  commandant  wrote  that  certain  papers  had  not 
been  turned  over  to  him  by  his  predecessor,  and  asked  if  Major  Smith  had 
sent  them  to  headquarters.  About  the  same  time  Capt.  George  Salmon,  of  the 
Royal  Artillery,  made  a  requisition  for  200  ammunition  boxes,  three  laboratory 
chests  and  six  packing  cases,  preparatory  to  the  removal  of  the  stores  to  the 


new  post  at  Amherstburg.  An  estimate  made  by  Colonel  England  for  repaire 
to  the  fort,  etc.,  amounted  to  £90,  10  s.  4d.,  but  the  repairs  were  not  made.  Just 
before  evacuating  the  post,  he  ordered  a  board  of  survey  to  report  on  the  condi- 
tion of  the  barrack  furniture,  which  was  later  reported  "for  the  most  part 
not  worth  removing  to  the  new  post  across  the  river."  These  reports  may 
give  the  reader  an  inkling  of  the  condition  of  the  post  of  Detroit  when  British 
domination  came  to  an  end  on  July  11,  1796,  the  details  of  which  are  given 
in  the  next  chapter. 

During  this  period  the  laws  of  Canada  governed  the  village.  Courts  were 
established  and  at  least  one  election  to  parliament  was  held  here.  The  first 
and  only  Canadian  judge  appointed  by  the  Canadian  Government  for  Detroit 
was  William  Dummer  Powell,  and,  although  he  continued  to  be  a  Canadian 
justice  during  his  life  and  filled  that  position  with  great  honor,  he  was  an 
American,  having  been  born  in  Boston  before  the  Revolution.  There  were 
three  members  of  parliament  from  Detroit — D.  W.  Smith,  who  lived  at  Niagara, 
but  was  elected  in  Detroit  and  who  was  subsequently  surveyor-general  of  Canada ; 
Alexander  Grant,  who  was  commonly  called  the  commodore  of  the  lakes,  from 
his  having  charge  of  the  British  armed  vessels  on  the  upper  lakes,  and  who 
lived  at  Grosse  Pointe ;  and  William  Macomb,  the  ancestor  of  one  branch  of 
the  Macomb  familv  in  Detroit  and  the  uncle  of  Gen.  Alexander  Macomb. 








At  the  close  of  the  French  and  Indian  war,  Great  Britain  came  into  posses- 
sion of  all  that  part  of  the  present  United  States  east  of  the  Mississippi  River, 
except  Florida  and  a  small  part  of  Louisiana.  She  was  still  in  possession  of  all 
this  territory  at  the  beginning  of  the  Revolution,  but  the  capture  of  the  British 
posts  in  the  Illinois  country  by  Gen.  George  Rogers  Clark  gave  the  American 
colonists  a  basis  for  claiming  all  the  country  tributary  to  the  captured  posts. 
Accounts  of  these  events  are  given  in  other  chapters  of  this  history. 

TREATY  OP  1783 

In  all  of  the  history  of  the  United  States  there  is  no  subject  more  interesting 
than  that  of  the  treaty  which  concluded  the  Revolutionary  war  and  the  manner 
in  which  it  was  negotiated.  By  this  treaty  Great  Britain  acknowledged  the  inde- 
pendence of  her  American  colonies  and  the  western  boundary  of  the  new  republic 
was  fixed  at  the  Mississippi  River.  Channing's  History  of  the  United  States 

"Already,  in  the  winter  of  1781-82;  English  emissaries  had  appeared  at  Paris 
and  at  The  Hague,  seeking  the  conditions  upon  which  the  war  in  America  might 
be  ended.  No  more  than  this  could  be  done  then  because  the  ministers  could  not 
advise  the  king  to  acknowledge  the  independence  of  the  United  States  until  an 
enabling  act  for  that  purpose  had  been  passed  by  Parliament.  A  bill  giving  this 
authorization  was  introduced  into  the  House  of  Commons,  but  politics  and  not 
patriotism  being  uppermost,  its  passage  took  time.  Franklin  at  Paris  and 
Adams  at  The  Hague  had  little  faith  in  Lord  North's  professions  of  peace;  but 
the  former  thought  it  worth  while  to  write  a  friendly  letter  to  Shelburne  (princi- 
pal secretary  of  state)  with  whom  he  had  been  intimate  before  the  war." 

Franklin's  letter  to  Shelburne  was  dated  March  22,  1782.  On  March  27, 
1782,  Shelburne  sent  an  agent  to  Paris  to  sound  Franklin.  This  agent  was 
Richard  Oswald,  a  Scotch  merchant  of  London,  whom  Shelburne  described  as 
"a  pacifical  man  and  conversant  in  those  negotiations  wliicli  are  most  interesting 
to  mankind."  Franklin  received  him  kindlj^  took  him  to  see  Count  de  Vergennes 
(the  French  secretary  of  state  for  foreign  affairs),  and  suggested  that  the  United 
States,  France  and  other  belligerents  could  better  negotiate  separately  with 
Great  Britain.     "When  everything  was  arranged,  he  added,  there  would   only 



remain  "to  consolidate  those  several  settlements  into  one  general  and  eonehisive 
Treaty  of  Pacification. ' ' 

John  Adams,  John  Jay  and  Henry  Laurens  were  named  by  the  Continental 
Congress  to  assist  Franklin  in  the  negotiations  of  the  treat.v.  On  April  15, 
1782,  Adams  and  Laurens  had  an  intervieyr  at  Haerlem.  Laurens  was  then  a 
British  prisoner  on  parole.  The  day  following  this  interview  Adams  wrote  to 
Franklin  and  in  his  letter  gave  an  account  of  his  meeting  with  Laurens.  "If 
you  agree  to  it,"  he  said,  "I  will  never  see  another  person  who  is  not  a  plenipo- 
tentiary," and  advised  Franklin  to  do  the  same. 

On  the  20th  of  the  same  month  Franklin  wrote  to  Adams :  "I  like  your 
idea  of  seeing  no  more  messengers  that  are  not  plenipotentiaries;  but  I  cannot 
refuse  to  see  Mr.  Oswald,  as  the  minister  here  considered  the  letter  to  me  from 
Lord  Shelburne  as  a  kind  of  authentication  given  that  messenger,  and  expects 
his  return  with  some  explicit  propositions.  I  shall  keep  you  advised  of  whatever 

On  ilay  8,  1782,  Franklin  again  wrote  to  Adams  regarding  the  negotiations, 
and  a  little  later  he  received  a  letter  from  Laui-ens,  dated  at  Ostend,  May  17, 
1782,  declining  to  accept  the  appointment  as  commissioner.  Jay  arrived  in  Paris 
on  June  23,  1782  and  immediately  called  upon  Franklin  at  Passy,  a  little  village 
now  within  the  city  limits  of  Paris.  Two  days  later  Franklin  wrote  to  Robert  R. 
Li\'ingston :  "I  hoped  for  the  assi.stance  of  Mr.  Adams  and  Mr.  Laurens.  The 
first  is  too  miich  engaged  in  Holland:  and  the  other  declines  serving." 

To  quote  from  Channing:  "On  Rockingham's  death  in  Jul}',  his  followers 
retired  from  the  government  and  Shelburne  became  prime  minister.  Toward 
the  end  of  that  month,  the  passage  of  the  enabling  act  authorized  him  to  issue 
a  commission  to  Oswald  and  to  give  him  definite  instructions  as  to  the  negotiation 
with  the  Americans.  Unfortunately,  the  Lord  Chancellor  and  the  Attorney- 
General  and  other  officials  had  betaken  themselves  to  the  country  the  moment 
Parliament  was  prorogued.  The  commission,  therefore,  that  Oswald  exhibited 
to  the  Americans  was  not  under  the  great  seal,  and,  indeed,  was  only  a  copy  or 
exemplification  of  the  original." 

Sirs.  Mercy  Warren,  in  her  "History  of  the  Revolution,"  says:  "When  Sir. 
Oswald,  who  had  been  appointed  to  act  as  commissioner  of  peace  in  behalf  of 
Great  Britain,  and  to  arrange  the  provisional  articles  for  th,at  purpose,  arrived 
in  Paris,  in  the  autumn  of  1782,  it  appeared  that  his  instructions  were  not  suf- 
ficiently explicit.  They  did  not  satisfy  the  American  agents  deputed  by  Con- 
gress to  negociate  the  terms  of  reconciliation  among  the  contending  powers. 
These  were  Doctor  Franklin,  John  Jay  and  John  Adams,  esquires.  Sir.  Adams 
was  still  at  The  Hague;  but  he  had  been  directed  by  Congress  to  repair  to  France 
to  assist  his  colleagues  in  the  negociations  for  peace. 

"The  ambiguity  of  Mr.  Oswald's  commission  occasioned  much  altercation 
between  the  Count  de  Yergennes  and  Mr.  Jay  on  the  subject  of  the  provisional 
articles.  Their  disputes  were  easily  adjusted;  and  the  Spanish  minister,  the 
Count  de  Arauda,  rather  inclined  to  be  acquiescent  in  the  proposals  of  the  British 
commissioner.  Sir.  Jay,  however,  resisted  with  firmness ;  and  was  supported 
in  his  opinions  by  Sir.  Adams,  who  soon  arrived  in  Paris." 

While  this  controversy  was  going  on.  Count  de  Reyneval  went  to  London  to 
lay  the  matter  before  Lord  Shelburne.  The  result  of  his  visit  was  that  Sir. 
Oswald  received  a  new  commission  and  definite  instructions.  All  was  now  smooth 
sailing  and  the  commissioners  began  their  deliberations  in  earnest. 








— au_^j 





Erected  in  1813,  torn  down  in  March,  1880 



The  first  result  of  their  labors,  which  was  made  public  ou  October  8,  1782, 
fixed  the  northern  boundaiy  of  the  United  States  as  the  forty-fifth  parallel  of 
north  latitude  from  the  Atlantic  coast  to  the  St.  Lawrence  River ;  thence  to 
the  southern  end  of  the  Lake  Nipissing,  and  by  a  straight  line  from  that  point 
to  the  source  of  the  Mississippi.  The  uncertainty  as  to  the  exact  location  of 
the  head  of  the  Llississippi  was  the  cause  of  some  delay  in  the  conclusion  of  the 
treaty,  but  on  November  30,  1782,  preliminary  articles  of  peace  were  signed 
by  the  commissioners.  The  preliminary  treaty  was  confirmed  by  the  definitive 
treaty  of  Paris  ou  September  3,  1783. 

Regarding  the  boundary  lines  of  the  United  States  under  this  treaty,  Mr.  C. 
M.  Burton  in  an  address  before  the  Society  of  Colonial  "Wars,  in  1907,  said  as 
follows : 

"I  think  it  is  not  necessary  to  tell  you  that  the  foundation  for  the  history 
of  the  Northwest  Territory  lies  largely  in  the  unpublished  documents  in  the 
British  Museum  and  the  Public  Record  ofiice  in  London.  The  American  papers 
on  the  subject  of  the  Treaty  of  1782  at  the  close  of  the  Revolutionary  war, 
have  been  collected  and  printed  by  Mr.  Sparks  in  twelve  volumes  of  the  diplo- 
matic correspondence  of  the  Revolution.  They  have  recently,  within  the  last 
few  years,  been  reprinted  and  added  to,  in  the  Wharton  collection.  But  the 
papers  on  the  British  side,  with  few  exceptions,  are  still  unpublished  and  it 
is  among  those  papers  that  I  spent  a  good  portion  of  my  vacation  while  in  the 
City  of  London.  A  few  of  them  are  in  the  British  Museum,  but  nearly  all  are 
in  the  Public  Record  ofiice.  I  had  some  trouble  in  getting  in  there,  but  suc- 
ceeded through  the  kindness  of  IMr.  Carter,  who  represents  our  government  in 
London,  and  made  as  many  extracts  as  I  could  pertaining  exclusively  to  De- 
troit and  the  Northwest.  While  the  collection  there  extends  to  eveiy  part 
of  the  United  States,  I  was  particularly^  interested  in  our  own  state,  in  our  own 
part  of  the  country.  I  refer  to  a  few  of  these  papers  for  the  purpose  of  show- 
ing how  it  came  about  that  Michigan  became  a  part  of  the  United  States. 
That  at  first  sight  might  seem  very  simple  to  be  determined,  and  yet  I  find  it 
veiy  difficult  to  answer,  and  I  do  not  know  now  that  I  have  found  much  that 
would  lead  to  a  complete  determination  of  the  reason  for  this  form  of  our 

"The  fii-st  papers  that  attracted  m.y  attention  I  found  in  the  British 
Museum.  They  consisted  of  some  correspondence  in  French  between  the  British 
government  and  the  French  government  relating  to  the  troubles  that  had 
arisen  along  the  Ohio  River,  and  in  that  matter  Detroit  took  a  very  active  in- 
terest about  the  j'ear  1754.  These  papers  finally  ended  in  a  proposition  on 
the  part  of  Great  Britain  to  accept  as  the  north  boundary  line  the  river  that 
we  call  the  Maumee,  on  which  Toledo  is  situated.  The  country  immediately 
south  of  this  was  to  be  neutral  ground.  This  was  in  1754.  If  that  boundary 
line  had  been  established ;  if  that  agreement  had  been  accepted  by  the  two  coun- 
tries, Michigan  would  have  remained  French  territory,  and  perhaps  the  war 
which  immediately  succeeded  would  not  have  taken  place,  and  in  all  proba- 
bility Canada  would  still  have  been  a  French  possession.  In  the  midst  of 
these  negotiations,  they  were  terminated.  I  did  not  know  at  the  time  why, 
but  I  found  in  my  searches  a  little  book  which  I  now  have,  evidently  written 
by  some  member  of  the  Privy  Council,  telling  the  reasons  for  breaking  off  the 
negotiations,  and  for  causing  the  war  which  terminated  in  1763.     This  book  is 


entitled  'Tlie  Conduct  of  the  ^Ministry  Impartially  Examined,'  and  was  pub- 
lished in  London  in  1756. 

"At  the  end  of  the  war,  the  treaty  of  Paris  gave  to  Great  Britain  all  of 
Canada,  and  Canada  at  that  time  was  supposed  to  include  all  of  Ohio,  Indiana 
and  Illinois,  all  of  the  land  north  and  west  of  the  Ohio  River.  The  same  rear 
that  this  treaty  was  entered  into,  Great  Britain  established  the  Province  of 
Quebec.  One  of  the  peculiar  matters  connected  with  this  establishment  of  the 
Province  of  Quebec  I  shall  refer  to  hereafter.  Quebec  was  established  in  1763 
and  was  nearly  a  triangle.  The  south  boundary  line  of  the  province  extended 
from  Lake  Nipissing  to  the  St.  Lawrence  River  near  Lake  St.  Fraiicis.  Mich- 
igan and  all  of  the  lower  part  of  Canada,  and  all  of  the  Ohio  district,  were 
entirely  omitted ;  so  that  by  the  proclamation  of  1763,  no  portion  of  that  countiy 
was  under  any  form  of  government  whatever.  This  was  likely  to  lead  to  trouble 
with  Great  Britain  and  with  the  people  in  Detroit,  for  Detroit  was  the  most 
prominent  and  important  place  in  the  whole  of  that  district.  Within  a  few 
j-ears  after  the  establishment  of  the  Province  of  Quebec,  a  man  by  the  name 
of  Isenhart  was  murdered  in  Detroit  by  ^Michael  Due,  a  Frenchman.  Due 
was  arrested,  testimony  was  taken  here  before  Philip  Dejean,  our  justice,  and 
after  his  guilt  was  established,  Due  was  sent  to  Quebec  for  trial  and  execution. 
After  he  was  convicted  they  sent  him  back  to  Montreal,  so  that  he  could  be 
executed  among  his  friends.  The  matter  was  brought  before  the  Pri^'y'  Council 
to  determine  luider  what  law  and  by  what  right  Due  was  tried  at  all.  They 
executed  the  poor  fellow,  and  then  made  the  inquiry  afterwards.  It  was 
finally  decided  that  they  could  trj'  him  under  a  special  provision  in  the  Mutiny 
Act,  but  they  had  to  acknowledge  that  at  that  time  they  absolutely  had  no 
control,  by  law,  over  our  portion  of  the  Northwest  Territory,  and  that  the  land 
where  we  are  was  subject  to  the  king  exclusively,  and  was  not  under  any  mili- 
tary authority  except  as  he  directed  it. 

"In  1774  the  Quebec  Act  was  passed,  and  by  that  act  the  boundary  lines  of 
the  Province  of  Quebec  were  so  enlarged  as  to  include  all  of  the  Ohio  countrj' 
and  all  the  land  noi'th  of  the  Ohio  River:  so  that  from  1774  until  the  close  of 
the  Revolutionaiy  war,  Canada  and  the  Province  of  Quebec  included  all  the 
land  on  which  we  are  situated  as  well  as  the  present  Canada,  Ohio,  Illinois, 
Indiana,  Wisconsin  and  Minnesota. 

"Xow,  when  we  come  to  the  treaty  of  peace,  or  the  preliminary  ti'eaty  of 
peace  in  1782,  the  first  thing  that  I  found  of  interest  was  the  fact  that  Franklin, 
who  was  then  in  Paris,  was  ciuite  anxious  that  some  effort  should  be  made  to 
close  up  the  war.  There  never  had  been  a  moment  from  the  time  the  war 
first  started  that  efforts  were  not  being  made  along  some  line  to  bring  it  to  a 
conclusion,  but  it  was  the  efforts  of  Mr.  Franklin  in  the  spring  of  1782  that 
finally  brought  the  parties  together.  The  man  who  acted  at  that  time  for  the 
British  government  was  Richard  Oswald.  He  was  sent  from  London  to  Paris 
to  represent  his  government,  and  to  see  if  something  could  not  be  done  with 
Mr.  Franklin  to  negotiate  a  treaty.  Those  of  you  who  have  been  in  Paris  will 
recollect  that  the  house  in  w-hich  Mr.  Franklin  lived  while  there  was  not  then 
within  the  city  limits.  It  was  in,  a  little  village  some  three  or  four 
miles  distant,  but  now  within  the  city  limits.  The  place  is  now  marked  by  a 
tablet  a  little  above  the  heads  of  the  passersby,  on  Singer  Street,  indicating 
that  Franklin  lived  there  during  the  time  of  which  I  am  speaking,  1782,  and 
sometime  later.     He  was  sick.     He  was  unable  at  various  times  to  leave  his 


apartments  at  all,  and  much  of  the  negotiations  took  place  in  his  private  rooms 
on  Singer  Street  in  Passy. 

"The  proceedings  on  the  part  of  the  American  commissioners  liave  all  been 
published,  but  Mr.  Oswald  kept  minutes  of  his  own,  and  these,  with  a  few 
exceptions,  have  not  been  printed.  These  and  the  papers  that  are  connected 
with  them,  I  had  the  pleasure  of  examining  and  abstracting,  if  I  may  use 
that  term,  during  the  past  winter.  I  find  that  on  April  25,  1782,  Mr.  Richard 
Oswald  returned  to  Paris,  and  that  place  was  named  as  the  city  for  settling 
up  the  affairs  of  the  Revolutionary  war,  if  it  was  possible,  with  Doctor  Franklin. 
The  principal  point  was  the  allowance  of  the  independence  of  the  United  States, 
upon  the  restoration  of  Great  Britain  to  the  situation  in  which  she  was  placed 
before  the  Treaty  of  1763.  The  question  that  came  before  the  commissioners 
at  once  was  what  constituted  Canada  or  what  constituted  the  Province  of  Quebec. 
I  think  that  Great  Britain  made  a  blunder,  and  a  serious  blunder  for  herself, 
in  establishing  the  Province  of  Quebec  within  the  restricted  lines  of  Lake 
NipLssing,  and  the  reason  of  her  making  this  line  I  believe  was  this.  She  had 
once  before  taken  Canada  from  the  French,  and  then  restored  it.  She  did  not 
know  but  what  she  might  again  be  called  upon  to  restore  Canada  to  France. 
But  if  she  had  to  restore  it,  she  proposed  to  restore  only  that  portion  of  it  that 
she  considered  to  be  Canada,  that  is  the  land  lying  north  and  east  of  the  line 
from  Lake  Nipissing  to  the  St.  Lawrence  River.  She  would  maintain,  if  the 
time  again  came  to  sun-ender  Canada  to  France,  that  all  the  land  lying  below 
that  line  was  her  own  possession,  and  not  a  part  of  the  land  she  had  taken 
from  France.  Now  she  found  that  in  order  to  be  restored  to  the  situation  she 
occupied  before  1763,  she  must  abandon  the  land  lying  below  that  line,  and 
thereafter  it  would  become  part  of  the  United  States.  So  that  one  of  the 
principal  features  of  this  new  treaty  wa.s  to  be  the  restoration  of  Great  Britain 
to  the  situation  that  was  occupied  by  her  before  the  Treaty  of  1763. 

"The  peculiar  formation  of  the  lines  that  marked  the  Pi-ovince  of  Quebec 
in  the  proclamation  of  1763  attracted  my  attention,  and  I  undertook  to  study 
out  the  reason  for  so  shaping  the  province,  and  some  years  ago  wrote  out  the 
reason  that  I  have  outlined  tonight.  I  did  not  know  then  that  there  were  docu- 
ments in  existence  to  prove  the  truth  of  my  theory. 

"In  July,  1763,  Lord  Egremont,  Secretary  of  State,  reported  to  the  Lord 
of  Trade  that  the  King  approved  of  the  formation  of  the  new  government 
of  Canada,  but  that  the  limits  had  not  been  defined.  The  King  thought  that 
great  inconvenience  might  arise  if  a  large  tract  of  land  was  left  without  being 
subject  to  the  jurisdiction  of  some  Governor  and  that  it  would  be  difficult  to 
bring  criminals  and  fugitives,  who  might  take  refuge  in  this  country,  to  justice. 
He  therefore  thought  it  best  to  include  in  the  commission  for  the  Governor 
of  Canada,  jurisdiction  of  all  the  great  lakes,  Ontario,  Erie,  Huron,  iMichigan 
and  Superior,  with  all  of  the  country  as  far  north  and  west  as  the  limits  of 
the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  and  the  Mississippi,  and  all  lands  ceded  by  the 
late  treaty,  unless  the  Lords  of  Trade  should  suggest  a  better  distribution. 

"On  the  5th  of  August  the  Lords  of  Trade  submitted  their  plan  for  the 
Government  of  Quebec,  a  portion  of  which  was  as  follows : 

"  'We  are  apprehensive  that,  should  this  country  be  annexed  to  the  Gov- 
ernment of  Canada,  a  colour  might  be  taken  on  some  future  occasion,  for 
supposing  that  your  Majesty's  title  to  it  had  taken  its  rise  singly  from  the 
cessions  made  bv  France  in  the  late  treaty,  whereas  your  Majesty's  titles  to 


the  lakes  and  circumjacent  territory,  as  well  as  sovereignty  over  the  Indian 
tribes,  particularly  of  the  Six  Nations,  rests  on  a  more  solid  and  even  a  more 
equitable  foundation ;  and  perhaps  nothing  is  more  necessary  than  that  just 
impressions  of  this  subject  should  be  carefully  preserved  in  the  minds  of  the 
savages,  -whose  ideas  might  be  blended  and  confounded  if  they  should  be 
brought  to  consider  themselves  under  the  government  of  Canada.' 

"Conformable  to  the  report  of  the  Lords  of  Trade,  the  King  on  September 
19th,  said  that  he  was  pleased  to  lay  aside  the  idea  of  including  within  the 
government  of  Canada,  or  anj'  established  colony,  the  lands  that  were  reserved 
for  the  use  of  the  Indians. 

"He  directed  that  the  commission  to  be  issued  to  James  ^Murray  comprehend 
that  part  of  Canada  lying  on  the  north  side  of  the  St.  Lawrence  River  which 
was  included  within  the  Province  of  Quebec. 

"The  commission  to  James  Murray  as  Captain-General  and  Governor  of 
the  Province  of  Quebec,  which  was  issued  November  14,  1763,  bounded  the 
province  on  the  south  by  a  line  drawn  from  the  south  end  of  Lake  Nipissing 
to  a  point  where  the  forty-fifth  degree  of  north  latitude  crosses  the  St.  Lawrence 
River — the  westerly  end  of  Lake  St.  Francis. 

"In  settling  the  line  of  the  United  States  in  1782,  it  was  very  convenient 
for  our  commissioners  to  claim  that  the  Lake  Nipissing  line  was  the  northern 
boundanr  of  the  new  government,  for  it  gave  to  England  all  the  lauds  she 
claimed  to  have  won  by  the  contest  with  France,  and  this  line  Great  Britain 
could  not  well  dispute. 

"I  found  here  a  letter  from  Governor  Haldimand,  and  it  is  interesting  just 
at  this  point,  because  it  gives  an  idea  of  the  American  army. 

"  'It  is  not  the  number  of  troops  that  Mr.  Washington  can  spare  from  his 
ai-my  that  is  to  be  apprehended ;  it  is  their  multitude  of  militia  and  men  in 
arms  ready  to  turn  out  at  an  hour's  notice  upon  the  show  of  a  single  regiment 
of  Continental  troops  that  will  oppose  the  attempt,  the  facilit.y  of  which  has 
been  fatally  experienced.'  So  Haldimand  was  writing  to  the  home  ofSce  that 
•they  must  have  peace  because  they  could  not  contend  against  the  militia  of  the 
United  States. 

"In  the  various  interviews  that  ilr.  Oswald  reports,  he  says  that  Franklin 
and  Laurens  maintained  that  Canada,  Nova  Scotia,  East  Florida,  Newfound- 
land and  tlie  West  India  Islands  should  still  remain  British  colonies  in  the 
event  of  peace,  ilr.  Oswald  reported  that  in  all  the  conversations  on  this  sub- 
ject, no  inclination  was  ever  shown  by  the  Americans  to  dispute  the  right  of 
Great  Britain  to  these  colonies,  and  he  adds,  'Which,  I  owti,  I  was  very  much 
surprised  at,  and  had  I  been  an  American,  acting  in  the  same  character  as 
those  commissioners,  I  should  have  held  a  different  language  to  those  of  Great 
Britain,  and  would  have  plainly  told  them  that  for  the  sake  of  future  peace 
of  America,  they  must  entirely  quit  possession  of  every  part  of  that  continent, 
so  as  the  whole  might  be  brought  under  the  cover  of  one  and  the  same  political 
constitution,  and  so  must  include  under  the  head  of  independence,  to  make  it 
real  and  complete,  all  Nova  Scotia,  Canada,  Newfoundland  and  East  Florida. 
That  this  must  have  been  granted  if  insisted  upon,  I  think  is  past  all  doubt, 
considering  the  present  unhappy  situation  of  things.' 

"Well,  he  did  not  understand  Mr.  Franklin,  because  Franklin  was  sitting 
there  day  after  da.v,  doing  a  great  deal  of  thinking  and  letting  Mr.  Oswald 
do  the  talking,  and  when  it  came  to  the  time  for  ]\Ir.  Franklin  to  give  forth 


his  own  ideas,  the.y  were  very  different  from  what  Mr.  Oswald  thought  they 
were.  Franklin  told  Oswald  on  July  8th  that  there  could  be  no  solid  peace 
while  Canada  remained  an  English  possession.  That  was  the  first  statement 
that  Franklin  made  regarding  his  ideas  of  where  the  boundary  line  ought  to  be. 
A  few  daj'S  after  this,  the  first  draft  of  the  treaty  was  made,  and  it  was  sent 
to  London  on  July  10,  1782.  The  third  article  requires  that  the  boundaries 
of  Canada  be  confined  to  the  lines  given  in  the  Quebec  Act  of  1774,  'or  even  to 
a  more  contracted  state.'  An  additional  number  of  articles  were  to  be  con- 
sidered as  advisable,  the  fourth  one  being  the  giving  up  by  Great  Britain  of 
every  part  of  Canada.  Oswald  had  formerly  suggested  that  the  back  lands  of 
Canada — that  is  the  Ohio  lands — be  set  apart  and  sold  for  the  benefit  of  the 
loyal  sufferers;  but  now  Franklin  insisted  that  these  back  lands  be  ceded  to 
the  United  States  without  any  stipulation  whatever  as  to  their  disposal.  Many 
of  the  states  had  confiscated  the  lands  and  property  of  the  loyalists,  and  there 
was  an  effort  on  the  part  of  Oswald  to  get  our  new  government  to  recognize 
these  confiscations  and  repay  them,  or  to  sell  the  lands  in  the  Ohio  country  and 
pay  the  loyalists  from  the  sale.  A  set  of  instructions  was  made  to  Oswald  on 
July  31st  and  sent  over,  but  the  article  referring  to  this  matter  was  afterwards 
stricken  out,  so  that  it  does  not  appear  in  any  of  the  printed  proceedings.  The 
portion  that  was  stricken  out  reads  as  follows:  'You  will  endeavor  to  make 
use  of  our  reserve  title  to  those  ungranted  lands  which  lie  to  the  westward  of 
the  boundaries  of  the  provinces  as  defined  in  the  proclamations  before  men- 
tioned in  1763,  and  to  stipulate  for  the  annexation  of  a  portion  of  them  in  each 
province  in  lieu  of  what  they  shall  restore  to  the  refugees  and  loyalists,  whose 
estates  they  have  seized  or  confiscated.' 

"But  Franklin  refused  to  acknowledge  any  of  these  debts.  He  said  that  if 
any  loyalists  had  suffered,  they  had  suffered  because  they  had  been  the  ones 
who  had  instigated  the  war,  and  they  must  not  be  repaid,  and  he  would  not 
permit  them  to  be  repaid  out  of  any  lands  that  belonged  to  the  United  States; 
that  if  Great  Britain  herself  wanted  to  repay  them,  he  had  no  objection.  In 
a  conversation  John  Jay,  who  came  from  Spain  and  took  part  in  these  negotia- 
tions, told  the  British  commissioner  that  England  had  taken  gi-eat  advantage 
of  France  in  1763  in  taking  Canada  from  her  and  he  did  not  propose  that 
England  should  serve  the  United  States  in  the  same  manner,  and  he.  Jay,  was 
not  as  favorable  to  peace  as  was  Franklin. 

"On  the  18th  of  August,  a  few  days  later,  Oswald  wrote:  'The  Commis- 
sioners here  insist  on  their  independence,  and  consequently  on  a  cession  of  the 
whole  territory,  and  the  misfortune  is  that  their  demand  must  be  complied 
with  in  order  to  avoid  the  worst  consequences,  either  respecting  them  in  par- 
ticular, or  the  ob.ject  of  general  pacification  with  the  foreign  states,  as  to  which 
nothing  can  be  done  until  the  American  independence  is  effected.'  He  recites 
the  situation  in  America;  the  garrisons  of  British  troops  at  the  mercy  of  the 
Americans,  the  situation  of  the  loyalists,  and  the  evacuations  then  taking  place. 
In  all  these  negotiations,  there  was  a  constant  determination  taken  by  Franklin 
to  hold  the  territory  in  the  west  and  on  the  north. 

"In  the  last  of  August,  1782,  the  commissioners  set  about  determining  the 
boundary  lines  for  the  new  government,  which  they  fixed  in  the  draft  of  the 
treaty  so  as  to  include  in  the  United  States  that  part  of  Canada  which  was 
added  to  it  by  act  of  parliament  of  1774.  'If  this  is  not  granted  there  will  be 
a  good  deal  of  difficulty  in  settling  these  boundaries  between  Canada  and  several 


of  the  states,  especially  on  the  western  frontier,  as  the  addition  sweeps  around 
behind  them,  and  I  make  no  doubt  that  a  refusal  would  occasion  a  particular 
grudge,  as  "a  deprivation  of  an  extent  of  valuable  territory  the  several  prov- 
inces have  always  counted  upon  a.s  their  own,  and  onh'  waiting  to  be  settled 
and  taken  into  their  respective  governments,  according  as  their  population  in- 
creased and  encouraged  a  further  extension  westward.  I  therefore  suppose 
this  demand  will  be  gi-anted,  upon  certain  conditions.'  It  seems  that  in  the 
preceding  April,  Franklin  had  proposed  that  the  back  lands  of  Canada  should 
be  entirely  given  up  to  the  United  States,  and  that  Great  Britain  should  grant 
a  sum  of  money  to  repay  the  losses  of  the  sufferers  in  the  war.  He  had  also 
proposed  that  certain  unsold  lands  in  America  should  be  disposed  of  for  the 
benefit  of  the  sufferers  on  both  sides.  (These  unsold  lands  were  those  claimed 
as  Crown  lands  in  New  York  and  elsewhere,  considered  as  the  private  property 
of  the  Crown.)  Franklin  had  withdrawn  this  proposal  and  now  refused  to 
consent  to  it,  although  strongly  urged  by  Oswald,  who  wrote.  'I  am  afraid  it 
will  not  be  possible  to  bring  him  back  to  the  proposition  made  in  April  last, 
though  I  shall  trj-.' 

"The  preliminary  articles  of  peace  were  agreed  upon  bv  Oswald  and 
Franklin  and  Jay,  October  7,  1782,  and  the  northern  boundary  line  of  the 
United  States  extended  from  the  east,  westerly  on  the  45th  degree  of  north 
latitude  until  the  St.  Lawrence  River  was  reached,  then  to  the  easterlj-  end 
of  Lake  Nipissing,  and  then  straight  to  the  source  of  the  Mississippi.  If 
you  will  remember  that  Lake  Nipissing  is  opposite  the  northern  end  of  Georgian 
Bay,  you  will  see  that  the  line  as  laid  down  in  this  draft  of  the  treaty  would 
include  within  the  LTnited  States  all  the  territor.y  that  is  across  the  river  from 
Detroit,  all  of  the  soiitherly  portion  of  what  formerly  constituted  Upper  Canada, 
ilr.  Franklin  at  this  time  wrote :  '  They  want  to  bring  their  boundaries  down 
to  the  Ohio,  and  to  settle  their  loyalists  in  the  Illinois  country.  We  did  not 
choose  .such  neighbors.' 

'"ilr.  Franklin  at  this  time  was  seventy-eight  years  of  age,  a  very  old  man 
to  put  into  such  a  responsible  place.  In  October,  Henrj-  Strachey  was  sent  over 
to  assist  Mr.  Oswald,  and  in  some  ways  I  think  Mr.  Strachey  was  a  sharper, 
brighter  man  than  Mr.  Oswald  was,  although  Mr.  Oswald  was  probably  a  very 
good  man  for  the  position.  I  think,  however,  that  diplomatically,  the  repre- 
sentatives of  the  United  States  were  the  gi-eater  men.  Henry  Strachey  was 
sent  over  to  assist  Oswald  and  particularly  to  aid  him  in  fixing  the  boundary 
lines.  The  matter  was  thought  to  be  of  too  great  importance  for  one  man  and 
Lord  Townshend,  in  introducing  Strachey  to  Oswald,  told  him  that  Strachey 
would  share  the  responsibility  of  fixing  the  boundaries,  which  was  great,  with 

"If  any  of  you  have  ever  had  occasion  to  read  the  treaties  of  1782  and 
1783  carefully,  you  will  find  that  in  outlining  the  boundary  line,  one  line  was 
omitted.  The  draft  that  I  found  of  this  treaty  is  in  the  handwriting  of  John  Jay, 
and  certainly  Mr.  Jay  as  a  lawyer  ought  to  have  been  sufficiently  conversant 
with  real  estate  transfers  to  have  drawn  a  proper  deed :  but  one  line  is  omitted, 
and  that  is  the  line  extending  from  the  south  end  of  the  St.  ilary's  River  to 
Lake  Superior,  and  that  omission  has  been  copied  in  every  copy  of  the  treaty 
that  has  since  been  made,  so  far  as  I  have  been  able  to  ascertain.  The  map 
that  was  used  on  the  occasion  was  a  lai'ge  wall  map  of  Mitchell,  printed  some 
years  previous  to  1783.    I  got  the  original  map  that  was  used  on  that  occasion. 

^^^^n^-  mr 




and  on  that  I  found  a  large,  heavy  red  line  drawn  straight  across  the  country 
from  Lake  Nipissing  to  the  Mississippi.  That  was  one  line.  The  other  line 
running  as  we  now  know  the  boundary,  through  the  center  of  the  lakes.  This 
map  I  hunted  for  several  days,  but  finally  found  it  in  the  public  record  office 
in  Chancery  Lane. 

"On  November  5,  1782,  the  commissioners  nearly  broke  off  all  negotiations 
from  quarreling  about  the  boundarj^  lines,  and  were  about  to  quit  when  they 
concluded  to  try  it  once  more,  and  went  at  it.  A  new  draft  of  the  treaty  was 
made  November  8th,  on  which  the  boundary  line  was  fixed  at  the  forty-fifth 
degree  of  north  latitude.  That  would  run  straight  across  the  countrj-  through 
Alpena.  If  that  line  had  been  accepted,  and  it  came  very  nearly  being  ac- 
cepted at  one  time,  the  entire  northern  peninsula  of  Michigan,  and  all  the  land 
in  the  southern  peninsula  north  of  Alpena,  would  have  been  British, 
while  the  land  across  the  river  from  us  here  at  Detroit  would  have  been  part 
of  the  United  States.  When  this  draft  was  sent  over  to  England,  an  alternative 
line  was  the  line  that  we  know  as  the  boundary  line,  along  the  lakes.  In  sending 
over  this  proposition,  Strachey  said  that  the  draft  of  the  treaty  must  be  pre- 
pared in  London,  and  the  expressions  contained  in  the  treaty  made  as  tight 
as  possible  'for  these  Americans  are  the  greatest  quibblers  I  ever  knew.'  The 
above  draft  of  the  treaty  was  handed  to  Richard  Jackson,  and  he  remarked  on 
its  margin,  that  it  looked  more-  like  an  ultimatum  than  a  treaty,  and  in  a  letter 
of  November  12,  1782,  he  wrote :  '  I  am,  however,  free  to  say  that  so  far  as 
my  judgment  goes  and  ought  to  weigh,  I  am  of  opinion  in  the  cruel,  almost 
hopeless,  situation  of  this  country,  a  treaty  of  peace  ought  to  be  made  on  the 
terms  offered.' 

"On  November  11,  1782,  at  11  o'clock  at  night,  Strachey  writes  that  the 
terms  of  the  treaty  of  peace  have  finally  been  agi-eed  upon.  'Now  we  are 
to  be  hanged  or  applauded  for  thus  rescuing  you  from  the  American  war.  I 
am  half  dead  with  perpetual  anxiety,  and  shall  not  be  at  ease  till  I  see  how 
the  great  men  receive  me.  If  this  is  not  as  good  a  peace  as  was  expected,  I  am 
confident  that  it  is  the  best  that  could  have  been  made.'  A  few  days  later  he 
writes,  'The  treaty  is  signed  and  sealed,  and  is  now  sent.  God  forbid  that  I 
should  ever  have  a  hand  in  another  treat}^'  The  final  treaty  of  peace  was 
signed  at  that  time,  and  a  few  days  later,  on  the  30th  of  January,  1783,  the 
treaty  of  peace  on  which  it  depended,  that  is,  the  treaty  between  the  other 
governments  of  Europe  and  England,  was  signed  and  the  war  was  at  an  end." 

By  the  definitive  treat}',  signed  September  3,  1783,  the  ten-itory  now  com- 
prising the  State  of  Michigan  became  part  of  the  public  domain  of  the  United 
States,  though  England  retained  possession  of  Detroit  and  the  other  north- 
western posts  for  more  than  a  decade  after  the  conclusion  of  the  treaty.  An 
interesting  bit  of  history  regarding  this  retention  of  the  territory  in  the  face 
of  the  treaty  was  given  by  Dr.  James  B.  Angell,  former  president  of  the  Uni- 
versity of  Michigan,  in  his  address  at  the  centennial  celebration  of  American 
occupation  of  Detroit,  in  July,  1896.     Doctor  Angell  said: 

"The  speakers  who  have  preceded  me  have  suggested  that  one  of  the  reasons 
why  Great  Britain  retained  this  and  other  frontier  posts  for  thirteen  years  . 
after  the  treaty  of  independence,  was  their  doubt  whether  we  were  really 
going  to  be  able  to  retain  our  independence.  Under  the  weakness  of  our  old 
federation  this  doubt  on  the  part  of  the  English  was  perhaps  not  unreason- 
able.    But  may  I  call  yovir  attention  to  the  surprising  fact  that  long  after  the 


establishment  of  our  stronger  government  under  the  constitution  the  English 
seemed  to  cherish  the  same  doubt. 

"In  1814,  at  the  opening  of  the  negotiations  for  the  Treaty  of  Ghent,  the 
very  fii-st  proposition  made  by  the  British  commissionei-s  to  ours,  and  made  as  a 
sine  qua  non  of  the  treat}',  was  that  we  should  set  apart  for  Indians  the  vast 
territory  now  comprising  the  states  of  Michigan,  Wisconsin,  Illinois,  and  a 
considerable  portion  of  the  states  of  Indiana  and  Ohio,  and  that  we  should 
never  purchase  it  from  them.  A  sort  of  Indian  sovereigntj-  under  British 
guaranty  was  to  be  established  in  our  domain.  Coupled  with  this  was  a  demand 
that  we  should  have  no  armed  force  on  the  lakes.  There  were  other  demands 
scarcely  less  preposterous.  (There  was,  however,  a  counter  proposal  to  annex 
Canada  to  the  United  States.)  Think  of  making  such  'cheeky'  demands  as 
these  to  John  Quiney  Adams,  Heniy  Clay,  James  A.  Bayard,  Albert  Gallatin 
and  Jonathan  Russell.  It  did  not  take  these  spirited  men  many  minutes  to 
send  back  answer  in  effect  that,  until  the  United  States  had  lost  all  sense  of 
independence,  they  would  not  even  listen  to  such  propositions.  They  threatened 
to  go  home.  Castlereagh,  the  prime  minister,  happening  to  reach  Ghent  on  his 
way  to  Vienna,  ordered  an  abatement  of  the  British  demands  and  an  honor- 
able peace  was  made.  But  the  same  idea  of  a  'buffer  state'  of  Indians  under 
British  influence,  to  be  used  as  a  means  of  regaining  power  here,  was  cherished 
at  the  outset  as  was  entertained  in  1790." 


Possibly  the  English  attitude  toward  the  United  States  at  the  close  of  the 
Revolution  received  some  support  from  the  conflicting  claims  of  the  colonies. 
Connecticut,  Massaehusetts,  New  York  and  Viriginia  all  claimed  territory 
northwest  of  the  Ohio  River  and  their  claims  so  overlapped  each  other  that 
all  was  confusion.  If  these  disputes  should  result  in  serious  conflict.  Great 
Britain,  by  retaining  possession,  would  be  in  a  position  to  regain  much  of  the 
territory  she  had  lost  by  the  Revolution. 

In  October,  1778,  about  three  months  after  the  captui-e  of  the  British  gar- 
risons of  Kaskaskia,  Saint  Vincent  and  Cahokia  by  Col.  George  Rogers  Clark, 
the  Virginia  legislature  passed  an  act  that  "all  citizens  of  the  Commonwealth 
of  Vii-ginia,  who  are  already  settled  there,  or  shall  hereafter  be  settled  on  the 
west  side  of  the  Ohio,  shall  be  included  in  the  district  of  Kentucky,  which 
shall  be  called  Illinois  Count}-."  Col.  John  Todd  was  appointed  county  lieu- 
tenant, or  militar}'  commandant,  and  it  appears  that  under  his  administration 
a  court  was  established  at  Vincennes  and  none  of  the  other  colonies  questioned 
the  jurisdiction  or  acts  of  this  tribunal.  In  negotiating  the  treaty  in  1783,  the 
British  insisted  on  the  Ohio  River  as  the  northwest  boundary  of  the  United 
States,  but  the  American  claims  for  the  Lakes  and  Mississippi  was  that  Clark 
had  conquered  that  country  and  that  Virginia  was  in  possession. 

The  contention  among  the  four  colonie's,  over  their  respective  claims  and 
boundaries,  was  a  great  handicap  to  Congress,  whose  desire  was  to  form  a  strong 
and  permanent  union  of  states.  About  two  years  after  the  erection  of  Illinois 
County,  and  almost  three  years  before  the  final  treaty  of  peace  that  ended 
the  Revolutionary  war.  Congress  adopted  the  role  of  peacemaker.  An  act 
was  passed  providing  for  the  relinquishment  of  all  colonial  claims  to  the  terri- 
tory northwest  of  the  River  Ohio,  and  that  the  territory  so  relinquished,  when 
a  sufficient  population  had  settled  therein,  should  be  divided  into  states,  each 


of  which  should  be  admitted  into  the  Union,  with  all  the  rights,  privileges  and 
immunities  of  the  original  thirteen  states.  Under  the  provisions  of  this  act, 
New  York  relinquished  her  claim  on  March  1,  1781;  Virginia,  March  1,  1784; 
Massachusetts,  April  19,  1785 ;  and  Connecticut,  except  the  tract  known  as 
the  Western  Eeserve,  September  14,  1786.  These  several  cessions  placed  about 
three  hundred  thousand  square  miles  of  domain  in  the  hands  of  Congress,  to 
be  erected  into  states  for  the  common  welfare  of  the  nation.  This  vast  terri- 
tory now  comprises  the  states  of  Ohio,  Indiana,  Illinois,  Michigan  and  "Wis- 
consin, and  that  part  of  ^Minnesota  east  of  the  Mississippi  River  and  a  line 
drawn  from  the  source  of  that  stream  due  north  to  the  boundary  line  between 
the  United  States  and  the  British  possessions. 


The  Articles  of  Confederation,  the  first  organic  law  of  the  United  States, 
possessed  serious  defects  and  was  not  a  success  as  a  basis  of  government.  At 
the.  close  of  the  Revolution,  many  of  those  who  had  served  in  the  colonial  army 
grew  dissatisfied  with  the  failure  of  the  government  to  make  what  thej'  con- 
sidered suitable  reward  for  their  services  and  sacrifices.  As  early  as  December, 
1782,  a  number  of  army  officers  petitioned  Congress,  in  behalf  of  the  soldiers, 
but  Congress  was  then  unable  to  do  anj-thing  in  the  way  of  relief,  chiefly  for 
want  of  funds.  In  April,  1783,  in  anticipation  of  the  relinquishment  of  claims 
by  the  colonies,  some  of  the  leading  generals  proposed  to  reward  the  soldiers 
by  giving  them  grants  of  land  in  the  Ohio  country.  This  was  known  as  the 
"Army  Plan." 

Closely  allied  to  the  Army  Plan  was  one  proposed  about  the  same  time 
by  Alexander  Hamilton  and  Theodore  Bland.  It  provided  that  lands  should 
be  substituted  for  commutation  of  half -pay  and  arrearages  due  the  army; 
that  a  tract  for  this  purpose  be  set  apart  in  the  country  northwest  of  the  Ohio ; 
that  the  lands  so  set  apart  should  be  divided  into  districts,  each  of  which  might 
become  a  state  when  the  inhabitants  numbered  twenty  thousand  or  more;  and 
that  ten  per  cent  of  the  land  be  reserved  by  the  Government  as  a  public  domain, 
the  rents  and  profits  of  which  should  be  used  for  the  erection  of  forts,  founding 
seminaries,  etc.     This  was  known  as  the  "Financiers'  Plan." 

On  ilarch  1,  1784,  the  same  day  Virginia  ceded  her  title  to  the  United  States, 
a  committee,  of  which  Thomas  Jefferson  was  chairman,  reported  to  Congress 
a  plan  "for  a  temporary  government  of  the  territoiy  northwest  of  the  River 
Ohio."  It  provided:  1.  For  the  division  of  the  territory  into  states.  2.  That 
each  state  should  be  eligible  for  admission  into  the  Union  when  the  number 
of  inhabitants  reached  twenty  thousand.  3.  That  each  state  so  admitted 
should  be  liable  for  its  share  of  the  Federal  debt.  4.  That  the  government  of 
the  .states  thus  created  should  be  republican  in  form.  5.  That  after  the  year 
1800  neither  slavery  nor  invohmtary  sei-vitude  should  be  tolerated  in  any  of 
the  districts  or  states.  A  second  report  of  the  same  committee  late  in  March, 
1784,  made  some  changes  in  the  boundaries  of  the  districts  and  extended  the 
time  for  the  abolition  of  slavery  to  1801.  These  committee  reports  were  debated 
at  length,  but  no  act  or  ordinance  embodying  their  recommendations  was  passed. 


On  January  9,  1786,  Gen.  Rufus  Putnam  and  Gen.  Benjamin  Tupper, 
two  of  the  colonial  generals  during  the  Revolution,  formulated  a  plan  for  set- 


tling  soldiers  in  tlie  coiiutry  beyond  the  Ohio  River  and  issued  a  call  for  a 
meeting  to  be  held  in  Boston,  March  1,  1786,  to  consider  their  plan  and  take 
the  necessary  steps  to  carrj^  it  into  effect.  At  the  Boston  meeting  was  organized 
the  "Ohio  Company,"  with  General  Putnam,  General  Tupper,  James  Mitchell 
Varnum,  Samuel  Holdeu  Parsons  and  Return  Jonathan  Meigs  as  its  most  active 
members.  A  large  tract  of  land  near  the  confluence  of  the  Ohio  and  ^lusk- 
ingum  rivers  was  purchased,  a  land  office  under  the  management  of  General 
Putnam  was  established  at  the  mouth  of  the  iluskingum,  where  the  Citj'  of 
Marietta  now  stands,  and  inducements  were  offered  to  immigrants,  particularly 
veterans  of  the  Revolution. 


The  energy  displa.yed  by  the  Ohio  Company  stirred  Congi-ess  to  action,  to 
provide  some  adequate  form  of  government  for  the  population  which  was  soon 
to  come.  At  the  next  session  the  reports  of  the  Jefferson  committee  were  again 
called  up,  debated,  amended,  and  on  July  13,  1787,  was  passed  the  ordinance 
"for  the  government  of  the  tei'ritorv-  of  the  United  States  northwest  of  the 
River  Ohio."  The  ordinance  -provided  that  the  territory-  should  constitute 
one  district,  subject  to  division  by  Congi-ess.  It  conferred  on  Congress  the 
power  to  appoint  a  governor,  secretaiy  and  three  judges  for  the  execution  of 
the  laws  and  administration  of  affairs  in  the  Northwest  Territory'. 

The  governor  was  to  be  appointed  for  three  j-ears  and  the  secretary  for  four 
years,  unless  sooner  removed  by  Congress.  Both  were  required  to  reside  in 
the  territory.  The  governor  was  also  required  to  have  a  freehold  of  1,000  acres 
of  land  and  the  secretary  of  500  acres.  The  commissions  of  the  three  judges 
were  to  continue  in  force  "during  good  behavior"  and  each  judge  was  required 
to  have  a  freehold  of  500  acres.  Other  provisions  of  the  ordinance  were  as 
follows :  That  where  there  were  5,000  free  male  inhabitants  of  full  age  in 
the  district,  they  should  be  authorized  to  elect  members  of  a  General  Assembly, 
to  be  composed  of  the  governor  and  a  house  of  representatives ;  that  the  in- 
habitants of  the  ten-itory  should  be  entitled  to  trial  by  jurj-  and  the  benefits 
of  the  writ  of  habeas  corpus;  that  the  territory  might  be  divided  by  Congi-ess 
into  not  fewer  than  three  nor  more  than  five  states,  each  of  which  should  be 
admitted  into  the  UniGn  when  the  population  numbered  sixty  thousand  or 
more;  that  "There  shall  be  neither  slavery  nor  involuntary  servitude,  otherwise 
than  in  punishment  of  crime,  whereof  the  party  shall  have  been  duly  con- 
victed," though  any  slave  escaping  into  the  territory  might  be  reclaimed  by 
the  owner. 

Gen.  Arthur  St.  Clair,  then  president  of  Congress,  was  appointed  governor; 
Winthrop  Sargent,  of  Massachusetts,  secretary;  Samuel  Holdeu  Parsons,  of 
Connecticut,  James  ^Mitchell  Varnum,  of  Rhode  Island,  and  Jolin  Armstrong, 
judges.  Armstrong  declined  the  appointment  and  John  Cleves  Symmes  was 
chosen  in  his  place,  February  19,  1788.  Governor  St.  Clair  was  removed  by 
President  Jefferson  in  November,  1802,  after  Ohio  was  admitted  as  a  state. 
On  June  28,  1798,  Winthrop  Sargent  was  succeeded  by  "William  Heniy  Harri- 
son, who  sel■^'ed  until  the  erection  of  Indiana  Territoiy  in  May,  1800,  when  he 
was  succeeded  by  Charles  W.  Byrd. 


All  this  time  the  post  at  Detroit  remained  in  the  hands  of  the  British, 
though  repeated  efforts  had  been  made  by  the  United  States  authorities  to  get 


possession  of  the  territory  conceded  bj*  the  treaty  of  September  3,  1783.  In 
fact,  one  such  effort  was  made  before  that  treaty  was  concluded.  On  July  12, 
1783,  President  Washington,  acting  upon  the  assumption  that  the  British  would 
be  governed  by  the  terms  of  the  preliminarj'  treaty  of  November  30,  1782, 
sent  Baron  Steuben  to  Canada  to  secure  the  delivery  of  Detroit.  Armed  with 
the  proper  credentials,  the  baron  set  out  upon  his  mission.'  On  August  3,  1783, 
he  arrived  at  Chambly  and  wrote  to  Gen.  Frederick  Haldimand,  lieutenant- 
governor  of  Canada,  that  he  would  aiTive  in  Quebec  in  three  or  four  days,  and 
outlining  the  object  of  his  visit.  Upon  his  arrival  there  General  Haldimand 
received  him  with  courtesy,  but  instead  of  furnishing  him  with  the  desired 
order  for  the  evacuation  of  the  post  and  the  necessary  passports,  sent  him 
back  with  a  letter  to  Washington,  dated  April  11,  1783,  in  which  it  was  stated 
that  the  treaty  was  "only  pro\'isionar '  and  that  no  orders  had  been  received 
from  London  for  the  surrender  of  the  posts  on  the  upper  lakes.  There  was 
therefore  nothing  left  for  Steuben  to  do  except  retiim  and  make  his  report. 

The  second  effort  was  made  after  the  definitive  treaty  had  been  ratified  by 
the  two  governments.  On  May  24,  1784,  Col.  William  Hull,  afterward  the  first 
governor  of  Michigan  Territory,  set  out  for  Quebec,  where  he  arrived  on  the 
12th  of  July.  General  Haldimand 's  excuse  of  a  "provisional  treaty"  was  no 
longer  valid  and  he  was  now  reduced  to  the  extremity  of  making  a  peremptory 
refusal  to  deliver  any  portion  of  the  territory,  in  accordance  with  the  terms 
of  the  treaty.     This  he  did  without  assigning  any  reason  therefor. 

About  two  years  later  John  Adams,  United  States  minister  to  England, 
wrote  to  Congress  that  he  had  made  a  formal  demand  for  the  relinquishment 
of  the  western  posts  and  had  been  refused,  the  British  prime  minister  giving 
as  a  reason  for  the  refusal  that  several  of  the  states  had  violated  treaty  obliga- 
tions regarding  the  payment  of  debts. 

Negotiations  went  on  and  other  demands  were  made,  but  they  were  refused 
upon  one  pretext  or  another.  Meantime  such  unprincipled  English  agents  as 
Alexander  McKee,  Matthew  Elliott  and  Simon  Girty  were  laboring  among  the 
Indians  to  induce  them  to  stand  by  the  British  interests  and  inciting  them  to 
attack  the  American  settlements.  There  is  no  doubt  that  the  object  of  all  this 
intrigue  was  to  bring  on  a  serious  clash  between  the  United  States  and  the 
Indians,  which  would  enable  England  to  hold  control  of  the  valuable  fur  trade 
indefinitely,  and  perhaps  force  the  American  republic  into  a  new  treaty  re- 
storing to  Great  Britain  the  sovereignty  over  the  territory. 


Then  followed  the  Indian  wars  which  ended  with  General  Wayne's  sweep- 
ing victory  at  the  battle  of  Fallen  Timbers  on  August  20,  1794.  The  defeat 
suffered  by  the  Indians  in  this  engagement  so  disheartened  them  that  they  re- 
fused to  listen  further  to  English  blandishments  and  the  next  demand  for  the 
evacuation  of  Detroit  met  with  more  consideration.  Early  in  the  year  1794 
John  Jay  was  sent  to  London  as  a  special  minister,  to  negotiate  a  new  treaty 
defining  the  boundary  lines  and  adjusting  other  disputes  between  the  United 
States  and  Great  Britain.  On  June  23,  1794,  Jay  wrote  from  London  that  the 
British  government  positively  refused  to  surrender  the  posts  of  Detroit  and 
Michilimackinac.  When  news  of  Wayne's  brilliant  achievement  reached  London, 
coupled  as  it  was  with  discouraging  reports  from  English  officials  in  America, 
the  miuLstry  was  more  willing  to  listen  to  Mr.  Jay's  presentation  of  the  case. 


The  result  was  the  couolusiou  of  a  treaty  on  November  19.  179-1:.  which  settled 
a  long-stauding  dispute.  It  provided  for  the  ad.justmeut  of  the  boundan-  line 
between  the  United  States  and  the  British  possessions:  for  the  payment  of 
claims  g-rowing  out  of  illegal  captures  during  the  Revolution :  and  for  the 
evacuation  of  the  western  posts  on  or  before  June  1,  1796. 

The  order  for  the  evacuation  of  Detroit  was  dated  at  Quebec,  June  2,  1796, 
and  was  signed  "George  Beckwith,  Adjt.  Gen."  Evidently  the  British  com- 
mandant at  Detroit  did  not  receive  the  order  for  some  time,  as  the  actual  evacua- 
tion was  delayed  for  more  than  a  month.  The  order  directed  the  withdrawal 
of  all  troops  and  supplies  belonging  to  the  British,  "except  a  captain  and  fifty 
of  the  Queen's  Rangers,  sent  to  Detroit  and  Fort  Miami  in  April  of  the  j^resent 
year,  who  shall  remain  as  a  guard  for  the  protection  of  the  works  and  public 
buildings  until  the  troops  of  the  United  States  are  at  hand  to  occupy  the  same, 
when  they  will  embark." 

On  July  7,  1796,  Col.  John  F.  Hanitramck,  commanding  at  Fort  Miami, 
dispatched  Capt.  Moses  Porter  and  sixty-five  men  (artillery  and  infantry) 
on  two  small  sloops,  to  receive  the  surrender  of  Detroit.  Colonel  Hamtramck 
followed  a  few  days  later  and  on  the  17th  wi'ote  to  General  James  Wilkinson, 
commanding  the  troops  at  Greenville  in  the  absence  of  General  Wayne,  as  fol- 

"Detroit,  July  17,  1796. 

"I  have  the  pleasure  to  inform  you  of  the  safe  arrival  of  the  troops  under 
my  command  at  this  place,  which  was  evacuated  on  the  11th  instant  and  taken 
possession  of  by  a  detachment  of  sixty-five  men,  commanded  by  Capt.  Moses 
Porter,  whom  I  had  detached  from  the  foot  of  the  Rapids  for  that  purpose. 
Myself  and  troops  arrived  on  the  13th  instant. 

"J.  F.  Hamtramck." 

The  British  flag  was  lowered  exactly  at  noon  on  July  11,  1796,  and  the 
Stars  and  Stripes  hoisted  in  its  place.  Lanmaji's  "Red  Book  of  ^Michigan" 
says:  "The  retiring  garrison  of  English  troops,  to  show  their  spite  against  the 
Americans,  locked  the  gates  of  the  fort,  broke  the  windows  in  the  barracks, 
and  filled  the  wells  with  stones."  A  rumor  also  says  that  they  destroyed  the 
windmills  and  left  the  key  of  the  fort  with  a  negro. 


On  ^lay  7,  1800,  President  John  Adams  approved  an  act  of  Congress  erect- 
ing the  Territorj^  of  Indiana,  which  embraced  all  the  Northwest  Territory 
west  of  a  line  drawn  due  north  from  the  mouth  of  the  Big  ]\Iiami  River.  This 
left  Detroit  in  the  Northwest  Territory.  Gen.  William  Henry  Harrison  was 
appointed  governor  of  Indiana  Territory  and  John  Gibson,  secretary. 

By  the  act  of  April  30,  1802,  Congress  authorized  the  people  residing  in 
what  is  now  the  State  of  Ohio  to  form  and  adopt  a  constitution,  and  when  ad- 
mitted into  the  Union  the  region  including  Detroit  should  become  a  part  of 
Indiana  Territory.  The  constitutional  convention  met  at  Chillicothe  on  No- 
vember 1,  1802,  and  remained  in  session  until  the  29th.  The  constitution  was 
not  submitted  to  a  vote  of  the  people,  but  it  was  accepted  by  Congress  and  on 
February.  19,  1803,  Ohio  became  the  seventeenth  state  in  the  American  Union. 
The  eastern  half  of  what  is  now  the  State  of  Michigan  was  thus  automatically 


added  to  the  Territory  of  Indiana,  which  then  included  the  present  states  of 
Indiana,  Illinois,  Michigan  and  Wisconsin,  and  the  eastern  part  of  Minnesota. 

Governor  Harrison's  capital  was  at  Vincennes,  four  hundred  miles  from 
Detroit,  through  a  wild  region  in  which  the  only  roads  were  the  dim  Indian 
trails.  The  most  available  method  of  communication  was  by  canoe,  over  the 
"Wabash,  Maumee  and  Detroit  rivers  and  Lake  Erie.  This  route  included  the 
somewhat  difficidt  portage  between  the  Maumee  and  the  Wabash  at  Port  Wajnie 
and  few  undertook  the  journey  unless  it  was  absolutely  necessary.  Under  these 
conditions  the  territorial  officials  paid  but  little  attention  to  the  northern  part 
of  the  territory.  They  realized  that  the  rapid  settlement  of  the  country  would 
necessitate  a  division  of  the  territoi-y  within  a  short  time  and  left  the  people 
of  Detroit  largely  to  themselves. 

It  is  true  that  Governor  Harrison  issued  a  proclamation  on  January  14, 
1803,  defining  the  boundaries  of  Wayne  County,  with  Detroit  as  the  county 
seat.  At  an  election  held  on  September  11,  1804,  a  majority  of  138  voted  in 
favor  of  a  general  assembly.  Governor  Harrison  then  issued  his  proclamation 
calling  an  election  for  the  first  Thursday  in  January,  1805,  for  members  of 
the  general  assembly.  The  proclamation  failed  to  reach  Detroit  in  time  and 
no  election  was  held  in  Wayne  Count}'.  Representatives  from  other  parts  of 
the  territory  met  at  Vincennes  on  Friday,  February  1,  1805,  and  on  the  7th 
selected  the  names  of  ten  persons  to  be  sent  to  the  president,  who  was  to  choose 
five  of  the  ten  to  constitute  an  upper  house,  or  council.  Among  the  ten  names 
sent  to  the  President  were  those  of  James  Henry  and  James  May,  of  Detroit. 


In  the  meantime  the  people  of  Detroit  grew  restive  over  being  so  far  re- 
moved from  their  seat  of  government  and  receiving  so  little  consideration  from 
the  territorial  officials.  They  felt  that  some  attention  was  due  them  on  account 
of  the  sinister  attitude  of  the  English,  who  were  still  working  among  the 
Indians,  striving  to  keep  alive  their  hatred  for  the  tinited  States.  Large  num- 
bers of  savages  were  frequently  gathered  at  Maiden  and  the  trustees  of  the 
Town  of  Detroit  kept  sentries  posted  day  and  night  to  spread  the  alarm  in 
case  of  danger. 

On  Saturday,  October  13,  1804,  a  mass  meeting  was  held,  at  which  a  resolu- 
tion was  adopted  to  petition  Congress  for  the  erection  of  a  new  territory.  James 
May  and  Robert  Abbott  were  appointed  to  prepare  the  petition,  which  was 
presented  to  Congress  on  December  4,  1804.  On  January  11,  1805,  President 
Jefferson  approved  the  act  creating  the  Territory  of  Michigan,  to  include  that 
part  of  Indiana  Territory  "north  of  a  line  dra\vn  due  east  from  the  most 
southern  point  of  Lake  Michigan  to  Lake  Erie,  and  east  of  a  line  passing 
through  the  center  of  Lake  Michigan." 

It  was  provided  that  the  act  should  take  effect  on  June  30,  1805,  and  on 
the  first  of  March  the  President  appointed  the  following  officers  for  the  new 
territory :  Governor,  William  Hull,  of  Connecticut ;  Secretary,  Stanley  Gris- 
wold ;  Judges,  Augustus  B.  Woodward,  of  Washington,  D.  C. ;  Frederick  Bates, 
of  Michigan,  and  Samuel  Huntington,  of  Ohio.  Mr.  Huntington  declined  the 
appointment  and  John  Griffin,  of  Indiana,  was  chosen  to  fill  the  vacancy.  Judge 
Bates  was  designated  as  the  territorial  treasurer.  No  provision  was  made  for 
a  general  assembly,  the  governor  and  judges  to  constitute  the  legislative,  ex- 


ecntive  and  judicial  departments  of  the  territorial  government.  The  interest- 
ing story  of  the  all-powerful  governor  and  judges  is  told  in  another  chapter. 

But  the  American  republic  was  young  in  1805  and  the  early  territorial 
governments  were  largely  in  the  nature  of  an  experiment.  The  futility  of  at- 
tempting to  obtain  an  impartial  and  efSeient  government  by  this  method  is 
illustrated  by  the  following  incident:  During  the  winter  of  1808-9,  Judge 
Woodward  was  in  "Washington  most  of  the  time.  Under  the  supei-vision  of 
Judge  Witherell  a  number  of  important  changes  were  made  in  the  laws  of  the 
tei-ritory  and  forty-four  new  acts  were  passed.  When  Judge  Woodward  re- 
turned he  refu-sed  to  recognize  the  laws  passed  in  his  absence  and  the  business 
of  the  courts  was  reduced  to  a  state  bordering  on  chaos.  On  August  24,  1810, 
Judge  Witherell,  who  stood  sponsor  for  the  new  acts,  introduced  the  following: 

"Whereas,  by  the  most  extraordinary  and  unwarrantable  stretch  of  power 
ever  attempted  to  be  exercised  by  the  Judiciary  over  the  Legislature  and  a  free 
government,  two  of  the  judges  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  this  Territory,  at  the 
September  term  of  said  court  in  1809,  did  declare  and  decide  on  the  bench  of 
said  court,  in  their  judicial  capacity,  that  the  laws  adopted  and  published  the 
preceding  winter,  by  the  Governor  and  two  of  the  Judges  of  said  Territory, 
were  unconstitutional  and  not  binding  on  the  people  of  the  said  Territory, 
under  the  frivolous  pretext  that  they  were  signed  only  by  the  Governor  as  pre- 
siding officer;  and 

"Whereas,  by  the  said  declaration  and  decision  of  the  .said  judges,  the  peace 
and  happiness,  the  rights  and  interests,  of  the  good  people  of  this  Territory 
have  been  and  are  still  very  much  disturbed  and  put  in  jeopardy ;  and 

"Whereas,  the  good  people  of  this  Territory,  after  nearly  one  year  and  a 
half  acquaintance  with  the  said  laws,  have  manifested  strong  wishes  that  the 
same,  with  a  few  exceptions,  should  be  continued  in  operation  in  the  said  terri- 
tory, in  order  to  effect  which  and  remove  all  doubt  on  the  subject; 

"Resolved,  that  the  Governor  and  Judges,  or  a  majority  of  them,  do  pro- 
ceed immediately  to  sign  such  laws." 

Judge  Woodward  managed  to  defeat  the  resolution  and  during  the  next 
twelve  months  there  was  almost  constant  bickering.  Sometimes  the  Woodward 
adherents  were  temporarily  victorious  and  sometimes  the  Witherell  supporters 
would  triumph  for  a  brief  period. 

The  governor  and  judges  arrived  in  Detroit  soon  after  the  great  fire  of 
June  11,  1805,  and  devoted  the  greater  part  of  their  energies  to  the  rebuilding 
of  the  town,  as  told  in  another  chapter. 


Lewis  Cass  succeeded  General  Hull  as  governor  on  October  29,  1813,  and  on 
February  16,  1818,  the  people  voted  upon  the  question  of  adopting  w-hat  was 
called  the  "second  grade  of  government" — that  is,  the  establishment  of  a  legisla- 
tive assembl}'.  The  proposition  was  defeated  and  the  rule  of  the  governor  and 
judges  continued. 

On  March  11,  1822,  a  meeting  was  held  at  the  council  house  and  a  petition 
to  Congress  was  adopted,  asking  for  the  enactment  of  a  law  "to  separate  the 
judicial  and  legislative  power  and  to  vest  the  latter  in  a  certain  number  of 
oiir  citizens."  The  petition  was  forwarded  to  Congress,  but  nothing  was  done 
to  relieve  the  situation.  On  October  26,  1822,  another  meeting  was  held.  By 
this  time  the  people  had  grown  so  thoroughly  tired  of  being  governed  by  four 


men,  who  much  of  the  time  could  not  agree  among  themselves,  that  they  were 
more  positive  in  the  expression  of  their  views.  A  "Statement  of  Facts"  was 
drawn  up  and  sent  to  Congress.    This  statement  was  as  follows: 

"The  legislative  board  do  not  meet  to  do  business  at  the  time  fixed  by  their 
own  statutes  for  that  pui-pose,  and  thej'  have  no  known  place  of  meeting;  and 
when  they  do  meet,  no  public  notice  of  the  time  or  place  is  given ;  and  when 
that  can  be  ascertained,  by  inquiry,  they  are  found  sometimes  at  private  rooms 
or  offices,  where  none  has  a  right,  and  few  except  those  immediately  interested 
in  the  passage  of  the  laws  have  the  assurance  to  intrude  themselves,  or  can 
find  seats  if  they  should.  Laws  are  frequently  passed  and  others  repealed, 
which  take  effect  from  date,  and  \dtally  affect  the  rights  of  the  citizens,  and 
are  not  promulgated  or  made  known  to  the  community  for  many  months." 

This  produced  the  desired  effect,  for  on  March  3,  1823,  President  Monroe 
approved  an  act  authorizing  the  people  of  Michigan  to  elect  eighteen  persons, 
from  whom  the  President  should  select  nine  to  form  a  territorial  council.  On 
June  7,  1824,  the  first  legislative  eoimcil  met  in  Detroit.  By  the  act  of  January 
29,  1827,  the  council  was  increased  to  thirteen  members,  to  be  elected  by  the 
people.  Thus  the  territorial  govei-ument  gi-adually  developed  into  a  more  re- 
publican foi-m.  Much  of  this  progress  was  due  to  the  efforts  of  "William  Wood- 
bridge,  who  was  the  first  territorial  delegate  to  Congress,  and  his  successor, 
Solomon  Sibley.  Under  the  ordinance  of  1787  no  territory  was  entitled  to  rep- 
resentation in  Congress  until  a  territorial  legislature  was  established.  Although 
the  people  of  Michigan  voted  against  the  second  grade  in  1818,  Congress  re- 
moved the  disability  so  far  as  the  territory  was  concerned,  and  by  the  act  of 
February  16,  1819,  authorized  the  election  of  a  delegate.  Mr.  Woodbridge  was 
at  that  time  secretarj^  of  the  territory.  At  the  election  he  defeated  Judge 
Woodward,  Henry  Jackson  Hunt,  James  McCloskey  and  John  R.  Williams, 
but  owing  to  a  popular*  prejudice  against  his  holding  two  offices  at  the  same 
time  he  resigned,  and  Solomon  Sibley  was  elected  for  the  unexpired  term. 


In  April,  1816,  Congress  took  a  strip  ten  miles  wide  across  the  southern 
part  of  Michigan  and  added  it  to  Indiana,  which  was  then  knocking  at  the 
door  of  the  Union  for  admission  and  wanted  enough  of  the  shore  of  Lake  Mich- 
igan for  the  establishment  of  a  port.  The  loss  of  this  ten-mile  strip  was  more 
than  offset  by  the  act  of  April  18,  1818,  which  added  to  Michigan  Territory 
the  western  half  of  the  Upper  Peninsula,  all  the  State  of  Wisconsin  and  that 
part  of  Minnesota  east  of  the  Mississippi  River. 

On  June  28,  1834,  President  Jackson  approved  an  act  of  Congress  which 
added  to  Michigan  all  the  territory  of  the  United  States  north  of  the  State 
of  Missouri  and  east  of  the  Missouri  and  White  Earth  Rivers.  By  this  act 
Detroit  became  the  c-apital  of  a  vast  expanse  of  country,  comprising  the  present 
states  of  Michigan,  Wisconsin,  Iowa  and  Minnesota,  and  a  large  part  of  North 
and  South  Dakota.  The  Territoiy  of  Wisconsin  was  erected  by  the  act  of 
April  20,  1836,  which  took  from  Michigan  all  the  country  west  of  Lake  Mich- 
igan, except  the.  Upper  Peninsula. 


General  Hull,  the  first  territorial  governor,  served  from  March  1,  1805,  to 
August  16,  1812,  when  he  surrendered  Detroit  to  the  British  under  Gen.  Isaac 


Brock,  who  left  Col.  Heniy  Procter  in  charge  as  commandant  of  the  post  and 
military  governor  of  Michigan.  Hull  was  nominally  governor  until  October 
29,  1813,  when  he  was  succeeded  by  Gen.  Lewis  Cass,  who  served  until  August 
6,  1831.  George  B.  Porter  was  then  governor  until  July  6,  1834;  Stevens  T. 
]\Iason,  secretary  and  acting  governor  from  July  6,  1834,  to   September   10, 

1835,  when  he  was  removed  for  his  activity  in  the  Toledo  War ;  John  S.  Homer, 
territorial  secretary,  then  acted  as  governor  until  November  1,  1835,  when 
Mason  was  reinstated  as  governor  of  the  state.  He  held  the  office  until  Michigan 
was  admitted  into  the  Union  and  was  the  first  state  governor. 


On  January  26,  1835,  acting-Governor  j\Iason  approved  an  act  of  the  legis- 
lative council  authorizing  the  people  of  ^Michigan  Territory  to  hold  an  election 
on  the  first  Saturday  in  April  for  delegates  to  a  con-stitutional  convention,  to 
meet  in  Detroit  on  the  second  Monday  in  May.  Of  the  eighty-nine  delegates, 
seventeen  were  apportioned  to  Wayne  County,  viz :  Louis  Beaufait,  John  Bid- 
die,  Ammon  Brown,  J.  D.  Davis,  George  W.  Ferrington,  Caleb  Harrington, 
Charles  F.  Irwin,  John  McDonnell,  John  Norvell,  Asa  H.  Otis,  Amos  Stevens, 
Theophilus  E.  Tallman,  Conrad  Ten  Eyck,  Peter  Van  Every,  Alpheus  White, 
John  R.  Williams  and  William  Woodbridge. 

The  convention  met  on  May  11,  1835,  and  completed  a  constitution  on  the 
24th  of  June.  It  was  submitted  to  the  people  at  an  election  held  on  the  5th 
of  the  following  October  and  was  adopted  by  a  substantial  majority. 

The  same  year  the  constitution  was  framed  and  adopted  occurred  the  con- 
troversy between  Michigan  and  Ohio  over  the  boundary  line,  both  claiming  a 
parcel  of  land  containing  about  four  hundred  and  seventy  square  miles.  This 
controversy  is  described  as  the  "Toledo  War."  Notwithstanding  Michigan's 
vigorous  protests  against  the  surrender  of  the  disputed  territoiy.  Congress 
passed  an  act,  which  was  approved  on  June  15,  1836,  providing  for  the  admis- 
sion of  Michigan  on  condition  the  state  would  accept  a  boundary  line  giving 
it  to  Ohio.  Another  act,  approved  by  President  Jackson  on  June  23,  1836, 
accepted  all  the  propositions  of  the  Michigan  Constitutional  Convention  except 
the  one  relating  to  the  boundaiy  line. 

]\Iany  people  in  Michigan  were  so  bitterly  opposed  to  the  proposition  sub- 
mitted by  Congress,  that  they  expressed  themselves  in  favor  of  continuing  as 
a  territory,  rather  than  accept  such  terms  of  admission.  To  settle  the  question, 
the  Michigan  Legislature  was  assembled  and  on  July  20,  1836,  passed  an  act 
calling  an  election  for  delegates  to  a  convention  to  act  upon  the  subject.  Dele- 
gates were  elected  on  the  12tli  of  September  and  tlie  convention  met  at  Ann 
Arbor  on  the  26th  of  the  month.  Wa.yne  County  was  represented  by  Louis 
Beaufait,  Eli  Bradshaw,  Ammon  Brown,  Titus  Dort,  Benjamin  B.  Kercheval, 
John  ^McDonnell,  David  C.  McKinstry  and  II.  A.  Noyes. 

The  convention  decided  accepting  admission  under  the  conditions 
imposed  by  Congress,  and  after  a  brief  session  adjourned.     On  November  14, 

1836,  the  democratic  central  committee  of  Wayne  County  issued  an  address  to 
the  people  of  ^Michigan,  urging  them  to  elect  delegates  to  another  convention, 
to  assemble  at  Ann  Arbor  on  December  14.  1836.  The  circular  set  forth  that 
in  the  September  convention  the  decision  to  refuse  admission  was  due  to  the 
vote  of  the  Washtenaw  County  delegates;  that  the  people  of  that  county  had 
since  elected  delegates  to  the  Legislature  who  were  in  favor  of  accepting  the 


propositions  of  Congress ;  that  prompt  action  was  necessary  if  Michigan  was 
to  participate  in  the  distribution  of  the  surplus  revenue,  which  Congi-ess  was 
preparing  to  divide  among  the  states;  and  that,  as  a  state,  Michigan  would 
receive  fi'om  her  percentage  of  the  proceeds  derived  from  the  sales  of  public 
lands  more  than  enough  to  compensate  her  for  the  loss  of  the  disputed  territory. 

Governor  ]\Iason  favored  the  convention  and  gave  it  his  official  sanction. 
"Wayne  County  elected  the  following  delegates:  Marshall  J.  Bacon,  Eli  Brad- 
shaw,  James  Bucklin,  Reynold  Gillett,  Daniel  Goodwin,  Charles  F.  Irwin,  Josiah 
Mason,  Charles  Moran,  Elihu  Morse,  A.  Y.  Murray,  H.  A.  Noyes,  John  E. 
Schwartz,  Warner  Tuttle,  Ross  Wilkins,  John  R.  Williams  and  Benjamin  F.  H. 

The  convention  met  at  Ann  Arbor  on  the  appointed  day  and  without  a  dis- 
senting vote  accepted  the  conditions  of  admission  as  prescribed  by  the  act  of 
June  23,  1836.  There  was  some  question  as  to  the  legality  of  this  convention, 
but  Congress  recognized  its  action  as  a  valid  expression  of  the  people's  views 
and  on  January  26,  1837,  President  Jackson  signed  the  act  admitting  Michigan 
as  the  twenty-sixth  state  of  the  Union,  with  its  boundaries  as  they  are  at  the 
present  time. 

By  the  constitution  adopted  in  1835,  it  was  provided  that  Detroit  should 
be  the  capital  of  the  state  iintil  1847,  when  a  permanent  seat  of  government 
should  be  determined  by  the  legislature.  On  March  16,  1847,  Governor  Felch 
approved  the  act  locating  the  capital  at  Lansing  and  the  state  offices  were  re- 
moved to  that  city  in  the  following  December.  At  the  time  the  state  was  ad- 
mitted, the  population  of  Detroit  was  about  six  thousand.  Including  Ham- 
tramck  and  Highland  Park,  which  lie  ■wholly  within  the  city  limits  of  Detroit, 
the  population  in  1920  was  over  one  million,  making  Detroit  the  fourth  city 
of  the  Union. 



By  Clarence  M.  Burton 

character  of  people the  military  commandant — priest  as  arbitrator — 

Cadillac's  autocratic  rule — incendiarism — criminal  assault — military 











No  one  has  ever  undertaken  to  write  that  part  of  the  early  history  of  Detroit 
that  pertains  to  its  pubhc  records,  its  courts,  judges,  lawyers  and  lawsuits.  Such 
a  history  could  not  well  be  denominated  the  bench  and  bar  of  Detroit,  for  its 
commencement  antedates  the  idea  of  judges  and  lawyers  and  begins  when  the 
legal  history  of  the  place  was  in  the  chaotic  state  that  finds  a  parallel  only  in 
those  more  modern  localities  of  the  West  where  the  might  of  a  majority  of  the 
populace  is  the  law  of  the  land.  There  is  probably  not  an  instance  in  the  history 
of  Detroit,  in  those  early  days,  where  the  people  took  affairs  into  their  own 
hands  and  by  brute  force  taught  culprits  that  it  was  dangerous  to  violate  the 
unwritten  code  of  morals  of  the  community;  and  the  reason  why  mob  law  was 
not  resorted  to  was  because  the  people  themselves  were,  by  association,  tem- 
perament and  early  education,  accustomed  to  walk  in  a  path  that  never  varied 
much  from  that  followed  by  law-abiding  citizens  of  other  civilized  communities. 
These  people  were  very  different  from  the  rough  element  that  filled  the  mining 
camps  and  newly  erected  villages  of  the  West  a  few  years  since.  Every  man 
who  came  here  at  first  came  under  his  own  name.  He  was  not  a  fugitive  from 
justice  of  some  other  state  or  county;  he  came  here  to  make  a  home  and  to 
trade  with  the  natives;  his  willingness  to  abide  by  the  laws  and  customs  of  the 
place  was  neces.sary  to  his  success  and  he  conformed  his  life  to  that  of  his  neigh- 
bors without  question. 


VIEW   OF   DETROIT   IN    1796,    SHOWING    CITADEL;    PRESENT    WAYNE    ST  ■    ST 





While  from  the  very  commencement  of  the  French  settlement  in  Detroit 
it  is  probable  that  there  were  quarrels  over  property  and  personal  differences 
between  neighbors  and  fellow  colonists  and  traders  that  must  of  necessity  have 
been  settled  by  authority  outside  of  the  parties  in  direct  interest,  there  is  no 
evidence  that  there  were  courts  or  trials  by  jury  or  before  a  judge,  of  such  a 
nature  as  we  find  at  the  present  day  or,  indeed,  of  anything  approaching  it  in 

The  military  commandant,  under  the  French  rule,  was  very  powerful  here, 
so  far  as  we  know,  and  his  decision  in  matters  of  controversy  was  generally 
final.  He  was  attended  by  his  soldiers  who,  on  all  occasions,  carried  out  his 
orders  and  directions.  If  at  any  time  he  exceeded  what  the  citizens  considered 
his  proper  prerogatives,  they  could  complain  to  the  governor-general,  but  the 
complaints  were  generally  unheeded,  as  the  governor-general  must  have  con- 
sidered that  almost  absolute  authority  was  necessary  to  be  vested  in  the  local 
commandant,  in  order  to  keep  in  proper  subjection  the  rough  and  unruly  element 
he  was  compelled  to  dwell  among  and  with  whom  he  had  to  contend. 


In  the  beginning  the  village  priest  was  the  arbitrator  between  most  dis- 
putants, but  it  soon  came  to  be  noticed  that  he  had  allied  himself  with  a  certain 
clique,  and  thereafter  his  influence  was  greatly  lessened  or  entirely  spent,  for 
he  held  no  official  position  as  arbitrator  and  those  who  did  not  belong  to  the 
same  party  as  himself  lacked  confidence  in  his  opinion  and  did  not  accept  his 
decisions.  Father  Francois  de  Gueslis  Vaillant,  Jesuit,  and  Nicolas  Bernadin 
Constantin  de  I'Halle  came  to  Detroit  with  Cadillac  in  1701.  Vaillant  did  not 
remain,  but  left  immediately  for  Mackinac.  L'Halle  was  killed  by  the  Indians 
June  1,  1706.  He  was  succeeded  by  Father  Dominque  de  la  Marche  the  same 

Cadillac's  autocratic  rule 

The  next  step,  and  a  step  that  was  very  early  taken,  was  the  enforced 
obedience  to  the  will  of  the  first  commandant,  Cadillac.  The  troubles  he  had 
with  the  Company  of  the  Colony  of  Canada  forced  him  to  be  arbitrary  with 
the  servants  of  that  company,  and  he  was  arrested  and  sent  to  Montreal  for 
putting  one  of  these  disobedient  servants  in  prison.  This  was  an  attack  on 
the  government  itself,  and  could  not  be  overlooked  by  the  governor-general. 
Cadillac  kept  away  from  Detroit  for  a  long  time,  but  eventually  returned  with 
his  powers  confirmed  by  the  king.  During  his  absence  his  little  village  came 
near  being  sacked  and  destroyed  by  turbulent  Indians,  and  it  was  partly  on 
this  account  that  the  home  government  looked  with  favor  upon  his  attempt 
at  arbitrary  rule. 

In  1711  Cadillac  left  Detroit  for  good  and  his  successor  got  into  trouble  with 
the  village  priest  and  with  manj'  of  the  foremost  citizens  without  unnecessary 
delay.  Although  the  commandant  was  always  very  powerful,  there  were  some 
matters  that  appeared  to  be  beyond  his  authority  to  trJ^  He  could  not  try 
any  cases  in  which  he  was  personally  interested.  He  could  not  try  any  capital 
cases  or  cases  in  which  the  life  or  liberty  of  the  defendant  was  involved.  He 
could  not  try  these  cases,  but  yet  we  find  that  Cadillac  asserted  that  his  authority 
reached  to  the  taking  of  the  life  of  any  person  who  refused  to  submit  to  his  orders. 
Cadillac  himself  was  defendant  in  a  civil  suit  in  1694,  which  was  protracted 


until  1703,  arising  out  of  the  seizure  of  the  goods  of  a  trader  of  Michilimackinac, 
when  Cadillac  was  commandant  there. 

The  goods  were  seized  for  infraction  of  the  laws  which  prohibited  the  sale 
of  brandy  to  the  Indians.  The  suit  was  for  the  recovery  of  the  value  of  these 
goods,  which  were  destroyed.  The  trial  was  held  at  Montreal  and  was  decided 
in  favor  of  Cadillac. 


In  1703  some  one  set  fire  to  the  buildings  in  the  village  of  Detroit  and  the 
church  was  burned,  as  well  as  a  large  warehouse  filled  with  furs,  and  several 
other  buildings.  Cadillac  himself  was  severely  burned  in  attempting  to  stem 
the  conflagration.  There  was  much  speculation  as  to  who  set  the  fire.  Cadillac 
accused  the  Jesuits  of  instigating  the  work.  There  were  no  Jes.uits  in  Detroit, 
but  he  accused  them  of  sending  an  Indian  from  Mackinac  to  do  the  work  for 
them.  There  were  some  very  bitter  letters  written  on  the  subject  between 
Cadillac  and  the  Jesuit  priests  at  Mackinac  and  Montreal,  but  the  matter,  with 
them,  ended  with  the  letter  writing.  This  did  not  disclose  the  incendiary  and 
others  were  suspected  or  accused  of  setting  the  fire.  Shortly  after  this,  in  1706, 
Jacques  Campau  accused  Pierre  Roquant  dit  la  Ville  of  the  crime.  Canadian 
or  French  justice  was  administered  in  the  manner  that  appears  odd  at  this 
distance.  In  this  case  La  Ville  was  arrested  and  taken  to  Quebec  and  lodged 
in  prison.  Campau  was  also  summoned  to  attend  the  investigation  as  the 
complaining  witness  and  most  important  person.  The  trial,  or  investigation, 
was  held  at  Quebec  December  2,  1706  before  le  conseil  extraordinairment  and 
resulted  in  an  apparently  extraordinary  verdict,  for  not  only  was  the  defendant 
acquitted,  but  the  complaining  witness,  Campau,  was  compelled  to  paj^  five 
hundred  livres  for  the  trouble  and  expense  he  had  caused. 


In  1705  Pierre  Berge  (or  Boucher)  dit  La  Tulipe,  a  drummer  (tambour) 
in  the  company  of  Cadillac,  committed  a  criminal  assault  upon  Susanne  Capelle, 
a  little  girl  twelve  years  of  age.  He  was  convicted  before  the  conseil  superieitr 
of  Quebec  and  was  sentenced  to  make  a  public  confession  of  his  crime  and  on 
his  knees  in  the  church  he  was  compelled  to  ask  pardon  for  his  sins — he  was 
then  to  be  executed.  It  was  almost  impossible  to  carry  out  the  last  part  of 
the  sentence,  for  no  one  appeared  willing  to  act  as  executioner.  In  the  jail  at 
Quebec  was  a  man  named  Jacques  Elie,  who  had  been  condemned  to  death 
for  some  offense  committed  at  the  siege  of  Port  Royal  in  Acadia.  Elie  was 
promised  a  pardon  for  his  crime  if  he  would  act  as  executioner  of  Tulipe  and  the 
latter  was  thus  duly  hanged  on  November  26,  1705.  These  were  some  of  the 
cases  the  commandants  were  unable  to  deal  with  at  home  and  sent  to  the  higher 
courts  at  Montreal  and  Quebec  for  trial  and  disposition. 


Another  class  of  cases,  those  involving  the  militaiy  laws — disobedience  to 
military  orders,  desertions  and  that  class  of  cases,  were  attended  to  by  the 
soldiers  themselves  and  came  before  the  commandant  in  his  capacity  of  military 
officer  and  not  as  a  civilian. 

There  is  a  record  of  one  of  these  early  trials  by  court-martial.  During  the 
absence  of  Cadillac  from  the  village  in  1705,  Bourgmont  had  charge  of  the  post 
for  a  time.    He  misbehaved  himself  in  various  ways  to  such  an  extent  that  the 


citizens  nearly  rose  in  rebellion  and  the  public  indignation  was  so  great  that 
Bourgmont  sought  safety  in  flight.  After  Cadillac's  return,  he  set  about  inves- 
tigating the  matter  and  in  1707  sent  an  officer  named  Desane,  with  fifteen  men, 
to  hunt  up  and  capture  Bourgmont,  Jolicoeur,  and  Bartellemy  Pichon  dit  La 
Roze,  all  of  whom  were  deserters,  and  who  were  then  leading  an  abandoned  life 
on  the  shores  of  Lake  Erie.  They  were  also  commanded  to  bring  with  them 
a  woman  named  Tichenet,  who  was  then  living  a  scandalous  life  with  Bourgmont 
and  who  was,  in  part,  the  cause  of  Bourgmont's  desertion. 

Apparently  La  Roze  was  the  only  deserter  who  was  captured  and  he  was 
tried  by  a  court  consisting  of  Antoine  de  la  Mothe  Cadillac,  Francois  LeGautier, 
Sieur  de  la  Vallee  Derasie,  Pierre  D'Argenteuil,  Guignolet  Lafleudor  and  Fran- 
couer  Brindamour.  The  defendant  was  found  guilty  and  sentenced  "a  avoir  la 
teste  cassee  jusque  a  se  que  mort  sensuive,"  meaning  that  he  should  have  his  neck 
stretched  until  he  was  dead.  The  word  "teste"  in  old  French,  for  modern 
"tete,"  meaning  the  head,  was  applied  in  this  case  to  the  neck.  This  sentence 
was  duly  carried  out  in  the  garrison  of  the  Fort  Pontchartrain  du  Detroit 
November  7,  1707.  No  appeal  was  taken,  nor  was  it  possible  that  any  could 
be.  This  was  the  first  capital  case  in  Detroit,  but  not  the  last  one,  for  there 
were  several  others  in  later  years. 


As  there  are  no  evidences  of  suits  for  small  sums  of  money  in  the  records 
of  Montreal  or  Quebec,  it  is  to  be  inferred  that  such  cases  were  attended  to 
at  Detroit  and  by  the  commandant  or  some  one  deputed  by  him  to  attend  to 
such  matters.  Occasionally  some  action  of  the  commandant  would  be  con- 
sidered so  arbitrary  and  unjust  that  a  complaint  would  be  made  to  the  Conseil 
Superieur  for  redress,  as  in  the  case  of  Louis  Gastineau. 

This  man  had  purchased  a  lot  within  the  village  enclosure  of  Cadillac  in 
1707,  but  he  did  not  improve  it  for  some  time.  All  the  lots  within  the  village  were 
sold  upon  the  understanding  that  a  house  would  be  erected  upon  them,  and 
refusal  or  neglect  to  make  the  improvements  worked  a  forfeiture  of  the  title. 
Cadillac  notified  Gastineau  of  the  breach  of  contract  and  posted  a  notice  to 
that  effect  upon  the  church  door,  as  was  customary  in  cases  of  public  notices. 
As  Gastineau  paid  no  attention  to  the  notice,  Cadillac  attempted  to  take 
possession  of  the  land.  Gastineau  appealed  to  the  authorities  at  Quebec.  An 
investigation  was  made  and  the  council  passed  judgment  in  favor  of  Gastineau. 


In  1730,  or  about  that  time,  Robert  Navarre  came  to  Detroit  as  sub-intendant 
and  royal  notary.  He  was  a  man  of  good  education  and  soon  attained  to  great 
importance  in  the  village.  He  was  church  and  village  treasurer,  surveyor, 
school  teacher  and  general  scrivener. 

Although  there  were  no  courts  in  Detroit  under  the  French  rule,  the  people 
never  bowed  abjectly  to  the  rule  of  their  superiors,  but  were  always  tenacious 
of  their  rights.     Judge  Campbell  says,  in  his  history: 

"The  powers  of  La  Mothe  Cadillac  could  not  have  been  less  than  those 
belonging  to  the  highest  feudal  lordships  of  France.  He  asserted  plenary  power 
of  justice,  uncontradicted.  But  it  was  not  necessary  to  establish  tribunals  of 
any  kind  as  long  as  the  settlers  were  confined  to  the  fort  and  necessarily  subject 
to  the  commanding  officer's  governance.  There  was  usually  in  every  post  which 
was  proprietary  and  not  purely  military,  that  indispensable  official  in  a  French 


settlement,  a  puljlic  notary.  Every  public  as  well  as  private  transaction  was 
made  in  his  presence  as  a  solemn  witness  and  recorded.  The  absence  of  any 
evidence  that  Detroit  had  such  an  officer  in  La  Mothe's  time  shows  that  affairs 
were  rudimentary. ' ' 

The  appointment  of  Navarre  to  the  post  of  Detroit  would  mark  an  era  in 
legal  i^roceedings  if  it  were  possible  to  obtain  all  the  records  that  the  officer 
kept.  Not  until  recent  years  was  even  a  part  of  these  records  discovered,  but 
now  a  portion  of  them  has  been  found,  also  there  has  been  brought  to  light 
the  public  registry  kept  by  Cadillac  up  to  the  time  of  his  departure  in  1711. 
The  authority  usually  granted  a  notary  permitted  Navarre  to  act  in  the  capacitj' 
of  a  judge  or  justice  in  certain  cases;  possessed  of  many  well-known  qualities 
in  addition  to  the  office  of  sub-intendant  it  is  more  certain  that  he  acted  in 
the  capacity  of  judge  during  the  entire  period  of  French  occupation  from  1734 
until  1760. 

The  complete  absence  of  records  in  the  two  eastern  Canadian  capitals, 
^Montreal  and  Quebec,  of  Detroit's  judicial  affairs,  supplies  evidence  that  all 
of  these  matters  were  attended  to  locally,  and  that  Navarre  and  the  different 
commandants  governed  Detroit,  in  these  particulars,  without  outside  assistance. 
No  matter  of  local  importance  was  taken  up  and  discussed  without  the  approval 
of  Navarre.  He  saw  that  the  taxes  were  levied  and  collected.  He  collected 
the  tithes  and  church  du'es.  He  listened  to  the  complaints  of  citizens  against 
the  increase  of  taxes  or  the  unjust  treatment  of  citizens  by  the  officers.  He 
was  the  judge  between  quarreling  citizens  and  it  was  by  his  judgment  that 
delinquents  were  forced  to  pay  their  just  debts  or  become  bankrupt.  He  was 
so  universally  liked  and  considered  so  just  in  his  decisions  that  upon  the  sur- 
render of  Detroit  to  the  British  in  1760  the  latter  concluded  to  retain  Navarre 
in  his  office  of  notary. 

It  was  absolutely  necessary  to  have  all  marriages  performed  by  the  village 
priest,  and  it  appears  almost  as  necessary  that  the  ante-nuptial  contract  which 
was  uniformly  entered  into  bj'  the  parties  should  be  drawn  up  by  and  executed 
before  the  notary  and  sub-intendant,  Navarre.  It  might  be  stated  that  the 
Navarre  family  in  later  years  supplied  another  judge,  a  direct  descendant  of 
the  old  notary  in  the  person  of  Henry  Navarre  Brevoort,  judge  of  the  circuit 
court  for  Waj'ne  County. 

The  old  French  commandants,  justices  and  other  officers  were  originally 
buried  in  the  old  Ste.  Anne  cemetery,  but  were  reinterred  in  later  years  intheMt. 
Elliott  cemetery,  where  the  graves  have  been  practically  obliterated. 

In  1760  Detroit  was  turned  over  by  the  French  to  the  British.  Judge  Cooley 
says  that  the  conquest  of  Canada  was  far  from  being  either  beneficial  or  agree- 
able to  the  conquered  people.  The  French  rule  had  l)ccn  arbitrary  and  irre- 
sponsible and  the  English  rule  was  not  less  so. 

"The  British  commander  at  once  assumed  supreme  authority  and  for  the 
purposes  of  the  administration  of  justice  created  a  series  of  military  courts  to 
which  was  given  jurisdiction  of  all  controversies,  with  no  appeal  in  case  of 
dissatisfaction,  except  to  other  military  authorities,  or  to  the  commander  him- 

In  making  this  statement  the  historian  is  only  partly  correct.  Almost  the 
first  act  of  Major  Robert  Rogers  on  his  taking  possession  of  Detroit  in  1760 
was  to  retain  Navarre  in  the  position  he  had  held  so  long.  It  is  not,  however, 
to  be  uiiderstdod  that  Navarre  retained  all  the  powei-s  he  had  possessed  under 


the  French  rule.     He  was  employed  more  for  political  pm-poses  and  as  an  inter- 
mediary between  the  incoming  English  and  the  discontented  French. 

PHILIPPE    DEJE.\N:     first    ENGLISH   JUDGE 

The  first  judge,  under  English  ride,  was  Philippe  Dejean.  It  has  been  stated 
that  Dejean  was  a  bankrupt  merchant  from  Montreal  and  that  he  came  west 
to  better  his  fortune  by  leaving  his  debts  and  creditors  behind  and  starting  a 
new  life  in  an  unknown  country.  Apparently  he  was  a  man  well  versed  in 
forms  of  legal  procedure,  but  it  appears,  also,  that  he  was  subservient  to  those 
in  power  and  much  inclined  to  do  what  was  right  or  wrong  without  question, 
as  requested  by  his  superiors. 

Such  actions  made  him  a  convenient  tool,  but  not  a  respected  citizen.  The 
date  of  his  appointment  as  notary  and  justice  is  not  known,  but  it  was  several 
years  after  the  coming  of  the  English  Philippe  Dejean  was  a  native  of  Toulouse, 
son  of  Philippe  Dejean,  who  was  counsellor  of  the  king's  presdial  and  seneschal 
court  (an  inferior  court),  and  of  Jeanne  Bogue  de  Carberie,  his  wife.  Philippe 
Dejean's  (our  judge)  first  wife  was  Marie  Louisa  Augier.  His  second  wife  was 
Theotiste  St.  Cosme,  daughter  of  Pierre  St.  Cosme  and  Catherine  Barrois,  his 
wife.  At  the  time  of  the  second  marriage  (about  July  25,  1778)  Dejean  had  a 
son,  Philip  or  Phillippe,  aged  four  years,  by  the  first  marriage.  From  an  article 
in  the  Massachusetts  Historical  Society  Proceedings  it  appears  that  Dejean 
was  a  friend  of  La  Fayette. 


The  public  records  of  Detroit  begin  with  this  officer.  It  cannot  now  be 
determined  whether  these  records  appertained  to  the  office  of  justice  or  notary, 
though  they  probablj*  belong  to  the  latter  office.  Dejean  being  both  justice  and 
notary,  the  records  were  in  his  possession  and  kept  by  him.  The  first  few  pages 
are  filled  with  French  documents  that  were  evidently  in  possession  of  Navarre 
and  antedated  the  British  occupation.  Then  about  1767  commence  the  current 
records  of  the  place.  Deeds,  notes  of  hand,  contracts  of  various  kinds,  wills, 
marriage  agreements  and  miscellaneous  papers  of  all  kinds  were  recorded.  It 
was  not  a  court  docket,  nor  are  there  any  evidences  of  law  cases  being  carried  on 
as  we  understand  that  kind  of  work.  No  judgments  were  rendered.  There  was 
no  court  for  the  probate  of  wills  and  it  is  difficult  to  tell  just  what  effect  the 
recording  of  a  will  among  these  records  would  have. 

In  the  record  is  the  will  of  Peter  Mclntyre  of  Toronto,  April  21,  1768.  He 
gives  to  George  McBeath,  merchant,  a  tract  of  land  on  the  North  River,  above 
Albanj',  two  miles  above  Stillwater  on  the  east  side  of  the  river,  joining  on  a  small 
river  or  creek  now  in  charge  of  Archibald  Campbell,  Esq.,  containing  two 
hundred  and  fifty  acres,  as  will  appear  by  the  deed  recorded  by  John  Smith, 
notary  public  in  New  York.  This  will  was  witnessed  by  Obidiah  Robins,  Edward 
Chichester  and  P.  Dejean,  justice  of  the  peace. 

Following  this  will  is  a  deed  of  the  same  land  by  Mclntyre  to  McBeath  for 
two  hundred  and  thirty  pounds.  New  York  currency.  There  are  several  instances 
of  where  the  notary  dishonored  commercial  paper.  These  records  contain  many 
odd  matters  that  may  be  of  sufficient  interest  to  be  mentioned.  A  full  descrip- 
tion would  be  out  of  place,  but  an  occasional  reference  will  give  some  idea  of 
their  contents.  At  this  time  Detroit  was  but  a  village,  composed  mostly  of 
French  habitants  who  were  natives  of  the  country,    and  a  garrison  of  British 


soldiers.  The  Pontiac  War,  which  broke  out  in  1763,  ended  the  following  year 
but  confidence  on  the  part  of  the  English  was  not  restored,  for  there  was  no  love 
lost  between  the  Indians  and  the  English.  The  Scotch,  Irish  and  English 
traders  were  rapidly  supplanting  the  French,  and  the  latter  were  moving  out 
of  the  village  to  the  adjacent  farms  which  they  owned.  The  tide  of  immigration 
that  had  set  in  at  the  coming  of  Rogers  in  1760  was  nearly  suspended  in  1764 
on  account  of  the  Indian  troubles,  but  it  gradually  increased  in  the  following 
years.  The  soldiers  in  the  garrison  were  sufficient  in  number  to  protect  the 
place  and  were  paid  by  the  government.  The  village  was  surrounded  by  a 
picket  line  that  served  as  a  protection  against  the  Indians.  This  picket  line 
was  continuallj'  in  need  of  repairs  and  the  burden  of  performing  this  work 
was  the  cause  of  levying  taxes  on  citizens  and  farmers.  Even  the  small  amount 
necessary  to  be  raised  for  this  purpose  seemed  a  heavy  burden  to  bear,  and 
both  those  living  within  and  those  living  without  the  palisades  grumbled  at 
the  cost  and  complained  of  the  amount  of  the  taxes.  There  was  no  fire  depart- 
ment to  support,  no  policemen  to  pay,  no  schools  to  be  maintained.  Such  things 
were  unheard  of  at  that  time.  There  was  no  Protestant  church  and  no  minister 
in  the  place,  and  if  the  Catholics  were  oppressed  by  the  collection  of  tithes  for 
their  church,  their  remonstrances  were  never  heard  of  outside  the  walls  of 
Ste.  Anne.  There  was  no  bank  in  the  village  and  the  larger  trading  houses 
issued  and  accepted  drafts  on  the  mercantile  houses  of  Montreal  as  a  means 
of  transacting  the  business  of  exchange.  These  drafts  were  not  always  promptly 
paid  and  when  dishonored  the  notary  was  called  upon  to  protest  the  paper. 
One  of  these  protested  documents  appears  in  the  public  records  under  the 
date  of  April  22,  1768.  The  order  is  drawn  by  Thomas  Gale,  of  Sandusky,  on 
Francis  Stone,  merchant,  in  favor  of  Obidiah  Robins  &  Company  for  one  hun- 
dred and  twelve  beavers  in  peltrj',  one  buck  and  one  lot  merchantable  does  and 
beavers,  or  in  good  merchantable  beaver,  it  being  for  value  received  for  a  quan- 
tity of  rum  bought  of  them.  Not  being  paid,  Philip  Dejean,  notary  and  tabillion 
public,  "protested  the  paper  and  recorded  the  protest  with  a  footnote  to  the 
effect  that  the  original  of  the  bill  was  stolen  from  his  office  on  April  21,  at  about 
9  o'clock  in  the  nioi'ning." 


The  next  paper  of  interest  is  a  deed  from  the  great  Indian  warrior,  Pontiac, 
to  George  Christian  Anthon,  of  a  parcel  of  land  on  the  south  side  of  the  Detroit 
River,  "for  the  good  will  which  I  bear  and  which  is  borne  bj^  the  whole  of  the 
Ottawa  Nation  unto  the  said  Doctor  George  Christian  Anthon".  The  interest 
of  this  deed  centers  on  the  parties  to  the  conveyance.  Pontiac  was  the  great 
chief  of  the  Ottawas,  a  determined  enemy  of  the  English,  and  one  of  the  most 
important  and  enterprising  Indians  known  to  history.  His  name  will  always  be 
connected  with  the  story  of  the  siege  of  Detroit  and  will  appear  on  the  pages  of 
history  with  those  of  Brant,  Tecumseh  and  Black  Hawk.  It  is  hard  to  under- 
stand how  he  could  have  come  to  like  Doctor  Anthon  sufficiently  to  present  him 
with  a  large  tract  of  land  eight  hundred  feet  wide  on  the  river,  but  probably  the 
doctor  had  rendered  some  assistance  to  the  Indian  for  which  he  was  grateful. 

The  name  of  Dr.  George  Christian  Anthon  is  familiar  to  the  generation  of 
students  who  are  now  past  middle  age.  He  was  a  surgeon  and  plwsician  in  the 
British  Armj'  and  was  employed  for  some  years  in  the  garrison  at  Detroit.  He 
was  born  in  Germany,  August  25,   1734  and  came  to  New  York  as  a  British 


prisoner  of  war  in  1757.  His  first  visit  to  Detroit  was  with  Major  Rogers  in 
1760.  In  1761  he  was  appointed  surgeon-mate  in  the  Sixtieth  Regiment  of 
Royal  Americans.  He  remained  in  Detroit  until  the  retirement  of  Colonel 
Gladwin  in  1764  and  with  the  colonel  he  went  to  New  York.  He  was  again  in 
Detroit  in  1765,  for  the  deed  above  mentioned  is  dated  September  Sth  of  that 
year.  He  did  not  remain  long,  but  came  again  in  1767  and  stayed  until  the  close 
of  the  Revolutionary  war.  He  was  twice  married,  both  times  in  Detroit  and 
both  times  to  members  of  the  family  of  Na\'arre. 

His  first  wife  was  Mariana  Navarre,  who  ched  in  1773,  leaving  no  children. 
His  second  wife  was  Genevieve  Jadot,  who  was  fifteen  years  of  age  at  the  time 
of  her  marriage  to  the  Doctor  in  1778.  Of  the  issue  of  this  marriage,  three  of 
his  sons  became  prominent  in  after  life.  They  were:  John  Anthon,  a  promin- 
ent lawyer  in  New  York;  Rev.  Henry  Anthon,  rector  of  "St.  Mark's  in  the 
Bowery";  and  lastly  the  lexicographer.  Prof.  Charles  Anthon,  one  of  the  most 
eminent  Greek  and  Latin  scholars  that  America  has  produced. 


Turning  again  to  the  old  records  we  find  the  additional  names  of  J.  Bte. 
Campau  and  Gabriel  LeGrand  as  notaries,  and  the  latter  also  as  judge  ond  jus- 
tice of  the  peace.  It  would  seem  that  while  the  two  offices  might  be  combined 
in  the  same  individual,  their  uniting  was  not  a  necessity  and  their  powers  and 
duties  were  dissimilar.  Campau  was  a  member  of  the  old  family  by  that  name 
and  had  endeared  himself  to  the  Americans  by  furnishing  the  protection  of  his 
house  to  the  soldiers  who  were  surprised  and  stunned  by  the  attack  of  the  Indians 
at  the  battle  of  Bloody  Run  in  1763.  He  did  not  have  much  work  to  do  as  a 
notary,  and  the  little  he  did  was  exclusively  among  the  French  citizens.  Le- 
Grand was  also  emplo3'ed  almost  exclusively  among  the  French  people.  He 
seems  to  have  been  incompetent  for  some  reason  and,  not  finding  sufficient  em- 
ployment in  Detroit,  he  wandered  off  to  Kaskaskia  to  reside,  and  there  succeeded 
in  getting  the  land  titles  so  badly  mixed  up  that  the  land  commissioners  made 
loud  complaint  of  his  inefficiencj-.  These  notaries  drop  out  of  sight  in  the  village 
history,  but  the  name  of  Dejean  is  carried  along  for  manj'  years. 


There  is  some  evidence  that  prior  to  1768  a  court  was  appointed  for  the  trial 
of  pet tj' causes,  for  on  page  thirtj'-two  of  Volume  "A"  of  these  old  records  is 
a  document  reading  as  follows: 

"Detroit,  May  23,  1768. 

"By  order  of  George  Turnbull,  Esq.,  captain  in  the  Second  Battalion  of  His 
Majesty's  Sixtieth  Regiment,  commandant  of  Detroit,  of  Phillipe  Dejean,  Esq., 
justice  of  the  peace,  in  consequence  of  sundry  complaints  made  against  him,  we, 
the  undersigned  subscribers,  having  duly  heard  and  carefully  examined  into  the 
grievances  set  forth  by  the  said  PhilHpe  Dejean,  Esq.,  are  of  opinion; 

"That  the  fees  established  by  the  committee  appointed  by  Major  Robert 
Bayard  on  the  establishment  of  the  court  of  justice  at  Detroit,  are  just  and 
reasonable  and  ought  not  to  be  less.  That  every  prisoner  confined  in  the  guard- 
house whether  for  debt  or  misdemeanor,  shall,  on  his  being  set  at  liberty,  pay 
one  dollar,  and  everj-  batteau  or  canoe  arriving  here  loaded  with  merchandise 
belonging  to  any  person  or  persons  not  possessing  property,  any  lot,  or  building 
within  the  fort,  shall  pay  two  dollars,  and  the  moneys  ensuing  from  thence  to 


be  applied  as  in  the  time  of  the  French  government,  to  help  keep  in  good  and 
sufficient  repair  the  fortifications  around  tliis  town  as  will  more  fully  appear  on 
our  former  petition  to  Captain  Turnbull  for  that  purpose. 

"No  person  having  appeared  before  us  to  make  any  complaint  against  said 
Phillipe  Dejean  with  respect  to  his  public  office  we  are  of  the  opinion  that  they 
are  ill-founded  and  without  cause." 

This  document  is  signed  by  James  Sterling,  Colin  Andrews,  T.  Williams, 
William  Edgar,  and  John  Robinson,  all  bearing  English  names,  and  Eustache 
Gamelin,  St.  Cosme,  J.  Cabasie,  Cicot,  F.  Mollere  and  A.  Barthe,  representing 
the  French  population.  Of  the  above  names,  James  Sterling  was  a  well-known 
trader  and  interpreter  and  the  hero  of  the  romance,  "The  Heroine  of  the  Straits." 
Thomas  Williams  was  the  father  of  John  R.  Williams,  the  first  elected  mayor  of 
Detroit.  He  was,  in  later  years,  a  justice  of  the  peace,  and  there  is  frequent 
mention  of  him  later  on.  William  Edgar  was  an  extensive  trader  and  for  some 
time  a  member  of  the  firm  of  ]Macomb,  Edgar  and  IMacomb,  the  largest  trading 
house  in  Detroit.  He  left  Detroit  during  the  Revolution,  "sent  down"  as  he 
was  suspected  of  adherence  to  the  United  States.  He  afterwards  returned  to  the 
West  and  settled  in  Illinois,  where  Edgar  County  is  named  after  him. 

As  Bayard  was  in  command  of  the  post  in  1766,  it  is  probable  the  court  re- 
ferretl  to  as  established  by  him  was  begun  in  that  year. 


The  first  election  of  Detroit  was  held  in  1768  and  the  public  record  of  that 
event  is  as  follows: 

"May  26,  1768. 

"We,  the  undersigned  subscribers  do  vote  for  and  unanimously  approve  of 
Phillipe  Dejean  to  be  judge  and  justice  of  the  district  of  Detroit  and  its  de- 

"Sam  Tymes,  John  Steadman,  David  Edgar,  Reaume,  Hugh  ^Mitchell,  John 
Vicegerier,  William  Edgar,  Isidore  Chene,  James  Abbott,  Colin  Andrews,  John 
Robinson,  George  McBeath,  George  Knaggs,  Edward  Pollard,  James  Casety, 
Benjamin  James,  Allan  McDougall,  John  Farrell,  Thomas  Barber,  H.  Van 
Schaack,  Thomas  Williams,  Richard  McNeal,  Thuner  Vessecher,  Jacob  Lansing, 
Hugh  Boyle,  Samuel  Kennedy,  La  Bute,  Alex.  Mercier,  George  Meldrum, 
Robert  McWilliams,  Louis  Prigian." 

The  qualifications  necessary  for  the  privilege  of  voting  on  the  occasion 
are  not  given,  nor  does  it  appear  that  any  questions  were  asked  of  the  proposed 
voters.  Everyone  voted  who  wished  to  and  was  able  to  sign  his  name,  and 
some  voted  who  could  not  write. 

Some  of  the  electors  were  prominently  connected  with  Detroit  in  later 
years,  such  as  James  Abbott,  who  was  the  father  of  that  James  Abbott  who 
lived  on  the  site  of  the  present  Hammond  Building,  and  was  one  of  the  early 
postmasters  of  Detroit;  George  Knaggs,  the  Indian  fighter;  James  Casety,  who 
in  later  years  was  a  "rebel  sympathizer"  and  was  sent  down  to  Quebec  as 
a  prisoner  for  that  reason;  Thomas  Williams,  referred  to  above,  and  George 
Meldrum,  the  owner  of  the  Meldrum  farm  east  of  Meldrum  Avenue  and  the 
ancestor  of  the  Eberts  family  of  the  present  Detroit. 

Citizens  were  apparently  ignorant  of  our  modern  method  of  voting  by 
secret  ballot,  and  it  would  seem  that  the  paper  of  which  the  above  is  a  cop.v 
was  drawn  up  and  carried  around  for  the  signatures,  and  that  the  system  of 


viva  voce  voting,  which  prevailed  toward  the  end  of  the  Eighteenth  Century, 
was  not  in  vogue  in  1768. 

To  make  the  election  still  more  secure,  a  petition  in  French  was  also  drawn 
up  and  sent  to  General  Gage,  to  indicate  the  joy  and  satisfaction  of  all  the  people, 
both  French  and  English,  on  the  choice  of  Dejean  as  justice.  This  petition 
bears  the  names  of  Pierre  Cosme,  Stephen  Lynch,  Richard  McNeal,  Lachlan 
Mcintosh,  Medard  Gamclin,  Dominique  Labrosse,  J.  Poupard,  Lafleur,  J.  M. 
Legare,  E.  Gamelin,  Claude  Campau,  Joseph  Rouget,  Isadore  J.  Gagnier,  Charles 
Moran,  Barthe,  Alarantet,  Godet,  Simon  Campau,  Antoine  Gamelin  and 

The  names  of  petitioners  and  electors  are  given  herein  for  the  purpose  of 
identifying  the  people  of  early  Detroit  with  their  descendants  who  are  still 
here.  Scarcely  a  name  appears  in  these  lists  that  cannot  be  traced  to  some 
family  of  the  Detroit  of  the  Twentieth  Century.  All  of  these  papers,  as  well 
as  the  final  approval  of  Major  Baj-ard  and  the  commission  by  Captain  Turnbull, 
became  the  propertj'  of  Dejean  and  were  preserved  by  him  in  the  records  he  kept. 


The  commission  by  Captain  Turnbull  is  of  interest  to  show  the  powers 
and  duties  of  the  justice,  and  is  as  follows: 

"By  George  Turnbull,  Esqr.  captain  in  Second  battalion  of  his  majesty's 
Sixtieth  Regiment  or  Royal  American  Regiment,  commandant  of  Detroit  and 
its  dependencies: To  Phille  Dejean,  merchant  at  Detroit: 

"I  do  nominate  and  appoint  you  justice  of  the  peace  to  enquire  into  com- 
plaints that  shall  come  before  you,  for  which  purpose  you  are  hereby  authorized 
to  examine  by  oath  such  evidence  as  shall  be  necessary  that  the  truth  of  the 
matter  may  be  known. 

"Provided  always  that  you  give  no  judgment  or  final  award,  but  at  their 
joint  request,  and  which  bj^  bond  they  agree  between  themselves  to  abide  by, 
but  settle  the  determination  by  arbitration,  which  they  are  likewise  to  give 
their  bond  to  abide  by  each,  and  if  they  cannot  agree  and  have  named  two 
only,  you  are  a  third,  and  if  four,  a  fifth,  and  their  determination  to  be  approved 
by  me  before  put  into  execution. 

"I  further  authorize  and  empower  you  to  act  as  chief  and  sole  notary  and 
tabillion  by  drawing  all  wills,  deeds,  etc.,  proper  for  the  department,  the  same 
to  be  done  in  English  only,  and  I  also  appoint  you  sole  vendue  master  as  may 
happen  here  in  the  accustomed  and  usual  manner. 

"Given  under  my  hand  and  seal  at  Detroit  this  24th  day  of  April,  1767. 


It  will  be  seen  that  the  powers  of  the  justice  were  very  limited  and  con- 
sisted of  little  more  than  the  ability  to  administer  oaths  to  witnesses  and  to 
appoint  the  odd  member  of  a  court  of  arbitration.  Seemingly  there  was  no- 
where vested  any  authority  to  carry  an  award  into  effect  unless  the  military 
arm  of  the  commandant  was  used  for  that  purpose.  Attached  to  the  foregoing 
commission  is  an  authorization  from  Major  Bayard  which  explains  duties  of 
the  justice  and  the  object  in  appointing  him.     It  is  as  follows: 

"Whereas,  it  had  been  represented  to  me  by  the  trading  people  and  others 
residing  at  Detroit,  that  some  temporary  form  of  justice  for  the  recovery  of 
debts  has  become  absolutely  necessary,  and  having  taken  this  matter  into  con- 
sideration and  finding  the  utility  of  such  an  establishment,  I  have  accordingly 


granted  them  a  temporary  court  of  justice  to  be  held  twice  in  everj'  month  at 
Detroit,  to  decide  all  actions  of  debt,  bonds,  bills,  contracts,  and  trespasses 
above  the  sum  of  five  pounds,  New  York  currency,  and  confiding  in  Phillippe 
Dejean  for  his  uprightness  and  integrity,  I  do  hereby  nominate  and  appoint  him 
the  second  judge  of  the  said  court  of  justice  at  Detroit. 

"Given  under  my  hand  and  seal  at  Detroit  this  20th  day  of  July,  1767. 

"Robert  Baj'ard, 
"Major-Commander  of  Detroit." 

There  has  been  some  speculation  as  to  the  meaning  of  the  term  "second 
judge"  and  Judge  James  V.  Campbell,  in  his  political  history,  is  inclined  to 
think  that  the  commandant  considered  himself,  on  all  occasions,  as  the  first 
judge,  and  that  consequently  Dejean  was  inferior  judicially  to  that  officer, 
whoever  he  might  be. 

The  instructions  to  Judge  Dejean  to  keep  his  records  in  English  were  totally 
disregarded.  He  was  qualified  to  record  in  both  French  and  English,  and  he 
employed  the  language  he  was  requested  to  use  by  the  parties  to  the  convey- 
ances. The  records  soon  came  to  include  transfers  of  real  estate  almost  ex- 
clusively, and  by  the  year  1769  the  recording  of  personal  transactions  nearly 
ceased.  Occasionally,  however,  miscellaneous  papers  and  other  documents 
of  a  more  general  historical  nature  reached  the  hands  of  the  judge  and  were 
entered  in  his  records. 


An  instance  of  this  nature  occurs  in  the  records  for  1769.  In  order  to  under- 
stand this  entry  it  will  be  necessary  to  return  to  the  year  1763,  at  the  outbreak 
of  the  Pontiac  War.  One  of  the  very  first  depreciations  committed  by  the  Indians 
was  the  destruction  of  the  houses  on  Belle  Isle  and  the  murder  of  the  family 
of  Mr.  James  Fisher,  who  was  residing  there.  After  the  war  was  over  one  Jean 
Myer  accused  Alexis  Cuillerier  of  drowning  the  child  of  Mr.  Fisher  on  that 
occasion.  At  the  time  these  accusations  were  made  there  was  no  civil  or  criminal 
court  organized  at  Detroit  capable  of  trying  such  a  case,  and  moreover  the 
evidence  was  not  very  conclusive;  and  then  Cuillerier  was  the  brother  of 
Angelique  Cuillerier,  who  had  divulged  Pontiac's  conspiracy  to  Major  Gladwin, 
and  she  was  the  wife  of  James  Sterling,  an  influential  trader  in  the  post  and 
military  storekeeper. 

All  of  these  things  served  to  assist  Cuillerier  in  escaping  a  severe  puni.shment 
for  his  crime  and,  instead  of  sending  him  to  Montreal  for  trial  or  trying  him  in 
Detroit  by  a  militarjr  tribunal,  the  commandant  expelled  him  from  the  village 
and  banished  him  from  the  community.  AfTairs  -afterward  took  on  a  different 
aspect  for  Cuillerier.  Several  witnesses  appeared  and  testified  in  his  behalf, 
and  from  the  testmony  of  some  of  the  inhabitants  "concerning  the  infamous 
character  of  that  perjured  villain,  Jn.  Myer,  who  has  since  given  himself  a 
very  glaring  and  but  too  strong  proof  of  said  testimony  bj^  premeditatedly 
murdering  James  Hill  Clark,  trader  at  the  Maumee  River,"  Cuillerier  was 
declared  to  be  found  innocent  of  the  crime  charged  to  him  and  was  recalled 
from  banishment  by  Captain  George  Turnbull,  June  4,  1769.  Captain  Turnbull 
did  not  act  in  this  affair  until  the  entire  facts  had  been  laid  before  General 
Gage  and  the  consent  of  the  latter  had  been  obtained.  If  Myer  was  accused 
of  murder,  he  must  have  l:)ccn  taken  to  Montreal  for  trial,  for  no  note  of 
his  arrest  or  trial  occurs  in  connection  with  thes(>  records. 



An  entry  made  March  13,  1773,  but  dated  January  22,  1772,  shows  one  of 
the  prerogatives  retained  by  the  commandant.  It  has  been  stated  that  there  was 
no  court  of  probate  at  Detroit,  nor  does  it  appear  that  the  probate  com't  at  Mon- 
treal had  jurisdiction  over  this  territory  at  that  date.  Of  course,  people  left 
estates  to  be  disposed  of,  and  the  proper  application  of  the  assets  of  a  decedent 
was  a  matter  of  interest,  not  only  to  creditors  and  heirs,  but  to  officials  who  had 
the  welfare  of  the  people  in  their  charge. 

In  the  estate  of  M.  and  Madam  Chabert,  both  deceased,  the  commandant 
appointed  Messrs.  Navarre,  Cicot,  Lieutenant  Abbott  and  Mr.  Macomb  ap- 
praisers to  make  an  inventory  of  the  estate  for  the  benefit  of  the  creditors. 
The  warrant  is  in  French  and  the  appraisers  apparently  understood  that  lang- 
uage. Every  citizen  of  that  day  must  have  been  able  to  talk  with  the  natives 
in  order  to  carry  on  business.  The  appraisers  were  all  well-known  citizens. 
Navarre,  the  notary,  and  Cicot,  the  trader,  were  too  well  known  to  necessitate 
the  introduction  of  their  first  name.  Lieutenant  Abbott  was  the  Edward  Abbott 
who,  at  a  later  date,  was  appointed  lieutenant-governor  of  Vincennes,  one  of  the 
three  lieutenant-governors  appointed  by  the  British  during  the  Revolution,  the 
two  othiers  being  Pat.  Sinclair  at  Mackinac  and  Henry  Hamilton  at  Detroit. 
There  were  three  men  bearing  the  name  of  Macomb;  John  Macomb  and  his  two 
sons,  Wlliam  and  Alexander.  The  one  mentioned  here  is  Alexander  Macomb. 
The  inventory  was  a  very  long  one  and  included  every  object  of  value  about  the 

The  want  of  courts  and  of  a  proper  custodian  to  care  for  the  property  induced 
the  creditors  to  petition  the  commandant  to  take  the  matter  into  his  hands  for 
their  protection.     Their  petition  reads  as  follows; 

"Detroit,  24th  Jany.,  1773. 
"We,  the  subscribers,  being  the  principal  creditors  at  this  place  of  the  late 
Mr.  and  Mrs.  Chabert,  on  finding  the  above  effects  exposed  to  accidents  of  fire, 
thieves,  etc.,  and  there  being  no  person  to  take  care  of  the  same,  most  humbly 
beg  that  you  will  be  pleased  to  order  them  to  be  vendued  as  soon  as  possible,  and 
have  the  moneys  arising  therefrom  lodged  in  safety  until  you  may  judge  proper 
to  order  a  distribution  to  be  made  thereof,  and  with  much  respect. 

"Sir,  your  most  obedient  and  humble  servants. 
"William  Edgar, 
"James  Sterling, 
"George  Meldrum, 
"Andrews  and  Meldrum, 
"For  Campbell  and  Elice  and  Porteous, 
"P.  Dejean. 
"To  Major  Henry  Basset,  Commandant  at  Detroit." 
In  connection  with  the  matter  of  the  probate  of  wills,  there  were  two  wills 
brought  to  light  b.y  the  late  Mr.  John  V.  Moran,  who  came  across  them  in  the 
family  papers  belonging  to  his  father,  the  late  Judge  Charles  Moran. 

The  first  is  the  will  of  Joseph  Chapoton,  a  youth  who  had  reached  an  age 
when  he  was  dependent  upon  his  own  exertions  for  a  living  {garcon  emancipe 
d'age).  It  is  dated  March  7,  1761  and  begins  with  the  statement  that  it  is  made 
before  the  royal  notary  at  Detroit  and  witnesses.  It  is  not  signed.  It  was  not 
probated  and  bears  the  approval  of  comparisons  several  years  later,  1776,  of  P. 


Dcjcan,  notary.     The  testator  was  a  brother-in-law  of  Gabriel  Lcgrand,  and  the 
brother  of  Magdelaine  Chapoton,  Legrand's  wife. 

The  other  will  is  that  of  Magdelaine  Chapoton,  wife  of  Gabriel  Legrand,  who 
is  here  described  as  a  surgeon  {Chirurgien).  This  will  is  not  dated.  The  testa- 
trix declared  she  was  unable  to  sign  her  name  and  that  the  declaration  is  made 
under  the  ordinance  of  1762.  This  will  is  signed  by  two  notaries,  Navarre  and 
J.  Bte.  Campau,  and  is  subsequently,  February  1,  1776,  compared  or  approved 
by  Dejean.     The  will  is  not  otherwise  proved  or  probated. 

The  notary,  Navarre,  in  this  and  in  many  other  cases  neglects  to  attach  his  ' 
first  name,  laboring  under  the  impression,  perhaps,  that  he  was  too  important  to 
be  mistaken  for  any  other  individual. 

Magdelaine  Chapoton  was  married  to  Gabriel  Christoph  Legrand,  sieur  de 
Sintre,  about  1758  and  died  January  5,  1763.  There  is  a  deed  dated  September 
2,  1772,  by  James  Abbott  and  James  Rankin,  executors  of  William  Graham,  de- 
ceased, to  Gregor  McGregor,  conveying  a  lot  on  Ste.  Anne  Street,  in  the  fort  of 
Detroit,  on  the  corner  of  St.  Peter  Street.  The  deed  is  also  executed  by  Eliza- 
beth Graham,  the  widow  of  the  deceased,  and  is  in  the  form  of  modern  deeds, 
except  that  it  is  not  acknowledged. 

On  page  twenty-three  of  volume  B  of  the  old  records  is  an  evidence  of  the 
attempt  of  Dejean  to  usurp  the  office  of  probate  judge.  It  seems  that  in  1769 
Alexis  Chapoton  made  his  will,  in  the  presence  of  the  judge  and  of  Nicolas 
Lorain  and  Nicolas  Perot;  that  subsequentl.v  Chapoton  went  to  New  Orleans, 
which  is  "situated  on  the  river  more  than  10  leagues  below  Natches",  and  there 
died.  His  will  was  opened  in  the  presence  of  Pierre  St.  Cosme  and  Jean  Bte. 
Campau,  and  was  admitted  as  a  valid  will  by  Judge  Dejean  at  the  request  of 
Jean  Bte.  Chapoton,  January  29,  1777. 

The  form  of  French  conveyances  is  somewhat  different.  Under  the  French 
custom,  the  parties  all  appeared  before  the  notary  and  he  wrote  out  the  agree- 
ment at  their  request  and  those  who  could  write,  attached  their  signatures.  An 
explanation  was  made  by  the  notarj'  in  case  of  illiteracy  of  any  one  or  more  of 
the  parties.  There  were  no  witnesses  other  than  the  notary,  and  no  acknowledg- 
ment was  taken  as  in  modern  conveyances. 


The  instructions  to  the  justice  in  his  appointment  specified  that,  before  he 
should  proceed  to  the  trial  of  any  cause,  there  should  be  arbitrators  appointed 
to  decide  the  points  in  dispute  and  the  contestants  should  agree  to  abide  bj-  the 
decision  of  the  arbitrators  and  should  enter  into  a  bond  containing  these  condi- 
tions. No  instance  has  been  found  where  a  case  was  disposed  of,  or  a  dispute 
settled,  without  this  arbitration,  but  in  the  case  of  Cabassier  vs.  Laferte,  in  1773, 
the  records  disclose  that  Laferte  refused  to  sign  the  bond  that  had  been  drawn 
up  as  preliminary  to  the  arbitration. 


It  has  been  mentioned  above  that  before  a  marriage  took  place  between  mem- 
bers of  the  old  French  families  a  marriage  contract  was  usually  entered  into 
between  the  contracting  parties.  This  was  a  civil  contract,  wholly  aside  from 
the  marriage  itself,  and  related  to  the  property  which  the  parties  had  at  the  time 
of  the  marriage,  and  which  they  might  thereafter  accumulate.  It  was  somewhat 
like  the  provisions  of  the  coutume  de  Paris.     The  property  that  belonged  to  the 


husband  and  wife,  both  that  which  was  theirs  before  marriage  and  that  whicia 
was  subsequently  accumulated,  should,  upon  the  death  of  either,  go  to  the  sur- 
vivor upon  the  payment  of  the  debts  of  the  deceased.  The  survivor  took  in  it 
only  an  estate  for  life.  At  the  death  of  the  survivor  this  property  passed  on  to 
the  children  equally.  It  was,  however,  always  the  privilege  of  the  survivor  to 
refuse  to  take  under  this  provision  and  then  the  survivor  could  take  only  such 
propertj'  as  he  or  she  had  brought  into  the  community  at  the  time  of  the  mar- 
riage. The  justice  of  this  provision  is  quite  apparent.  The  husband  might  be 
so  heavily  in  debt  at  the  time  of  his  decease  as  to  quite  strip  the  wife  of  all  of  her 
property,  and  it  would  be  no  more  than  equitable  that  if  she  gave  up  all  the 
property  that  her  husband  had  before  marriage,  as  well  as  what  they  had  ac- 
cumulated jointly  after  marriage,  she  could  claim  and  hold  all  that  which  she 
brought  with  her  at  the  marriage.  It  was  a  marriage  contract  of  this  nature 
that  Laferte  had  entered  into  and  undertook  to  repudiate.  Laferte  and  Cabas- 
sier  were  near  neighbors. 

They  both  lived  on  St.  Louis  Street  in  the  village  and  their  farms  adjoined 
each  other  on  the  Detroit  River  at  the  present  Twelfth  and  Thirteenth  Streets. 
Cabassier  told  his  troubles  to  the  commandant  and  the  proper  bond  was  drawn 
up  and  two  of  the  arbitrators  were  chosen,  Medard  Gamelin  and  A.  Barthe. 
When  it  was  ascertained  that  Laferte  refused  to  sign  the  bond  and  proceed  with 
the  arbitration,  the  arbitrators  drew  up  a  formal  notice  of  the  fact,  signed  it 
themselves  and  had  it  witnessed  by  a  number  of  prominent  citizens — J.  M. 
Legras,  John  Porteous,  St.  Martin,  J.  A.  Portier,  Pierre  Gamelin,  George 
McDougal,  Z.  Veauchers  and  B.  Chapoton,  and  put  it  upon  the  public  records 
as  an  evidence  of  bad  faith  on  the  part  of  Laferte,  and  as  a  warning  to  others 
to  beware  of  dealing  with  a  man  who  repudiated  his  agreements  and  then  refused 
to  arbitrate  the  matters  in  dispute.  At  this  long  distance  it  is  impossible  to  tell 
what  the  result  of  this  protest  was,  but  apparently  it  brought  the  delinquent 
to  time,  for  the  matter  does  not  again  appear  in  the  records. 

The  marriage  contract  is  too  long  to  be  given  here,  but  in  substance  it  is 
as  follows:  It  is  dated  September  21,  1771;  the  contracting  parties  were  Louis 
Veziere  dit  Laferte,  son  of  Pierre  Veziere  and  of  Marie  Ann  Leclaire,  his  wife, 
of  the  one  part,  and  Catherine  L'Esprit,  daughter  of  the  late  Claude  L'Esprit 
dit  Champagne,  and  of  Angelique  Bienvenue,  his  wife,  of  the  other  part.  The 
father  of  the  bride  being  dead,  her  stepfather,  Joseph  Cabassier,  represented 
her  on  this  occasion.  All  the  relatives  and  friends  of  both  parties  joined  in  the 
agreement  in  evidence  of  the  good  faith  of  the  proceedings.  Louis  agreed  to 
take  Catherine  for  his  wife  as  soon  as  possible,  and  at  the  request  of  either 
party.  All  the  property  they  possessed  should  be  held  in  common,  according 
to  the  couteime  de  Paris.  Neither  party  was  holden  for  the  debts  of  the  other 
contracted  befoi-e  marriage.  The  property  of  Louis,  at  that  time,  was  estimated 
at  ten  thousand  livres  (a  livre  was  worth  from  twenty  to  twenty-five  cents  of 
American  money,  though  it  must  be  understood  that  more  could  be  purchased 
with  money  at  that  time  than  at  present).  He  gave  his  expectant  wife  three 
thousand  livres  as  a  "prefix  dower."  This  sum  was  to  be  hers  if  she  survived 
her  husband  and  had  children  living  at  that  time.  If  there  were  no  children, 
she  was  to  have  fifteen  thousand  livres.  If,  at  the  date  of  her  husband's  death, 
she  desired  to  renounce  the  community  of  property,  she  was  to  take  all  the 
property  she  brought  to  the  marriage,  as  well  as  all  estate  that  might  come 
to  her  by  inheritance. 

Vol.  1—12 


The  property  of  Catherine  consisted  of  a  farm  two  and  a  half  arpents  wide, 
on  the  north  side  of  the  Detroit  River,  on  which  was  a  new  house  and  an  orchard, 
and  one  half  of  certain  sites  in  the  village.  After  the  marriage  had  taken  place, 
some  question  arose  as  to  the  terms  of  the  settlement,  and  Laferte  and  his 
wife  demanded  a  settlement  of  the  accounts  of  Cabassier,  as  guardian  for  Cath- 
erine. Cabassier  refused,  or  neglected,  to  make  the  accounting  and  without 
delay  appealed  his  case  to  the  commandant,  Major  Basset. 

The  entire  family  was  now  broken  into  factions  and  a  great  quarrel  ensued 
The  witnesses  to  the  marriage  contract  were  summoned  to  testify  to  the  circum- 
stances connected  with  the  signing  of  the  agreement  and  to  the  fraud  that 
Laferte  claimed  was  played  upon  him  on  that  occasion  by  Cabassier.  Major 
Basset  finally  directed  Cabassier  to  make  an  inventory  of  all  property  he  held 
Iselonging  to  his  ward  and  he  was  compelled  to  account  for  the  entire  amount. 

The  renunciation  of  the  community  of  goods  by  a  widow  was  not  uncommon. 
One  such  instance  is  shown  in  the  record  on  August  12,  1774,  where  Agathe 
Laselle,  widow  of  the  late  Hyacinthe  Reaume,  finding  the  acceptance  of  the 
community  more  onerous  than  profitable,  refused  to  take  it.  The  refusal  was 
duly  drawn  up  in  the  pi-esence  of  the  notary  and  witnessed  by  William  Edgar 
and  Jehu  Hay. 


In  a  country  inhabitated  by  peace  loving  citizens  who  are  without  laws 
other  than  of  their  own  making  the  method  of  arbitration  is  the  only  means  by 
which  substantial  justice  can  be  done  to  all  parties.  It  is  the  primitive  form  of 
administering  justice  where  all  people  are  equal  and  mean  to  be  honest. 

Another  instance  of  this  method  of  settling  disputes  occurred  in  November 
of  this  same  year,  1773.  John  Steadman,  who  lived  at  the  carrying  place  at 
Niagara,  was  the  owner  of  a  lot  situated  in  the  barrack  yard,  called  the  citadel, 
in  Detroit.  He  sold  the  lot  to  Alexander  and  William  Macomb  for  five  hundred 
and  fifty  pounds.  He  described  his  land,  in  his  deed,  as  containing  eighty  feet 
front  and  rear  by  one  hundred  feet  in  depth,  bounded  on  the  east  northeast 
by  the  stockade  and  on  the  west  southwest  by  a  lot  belonging  to  Duperon  Baby. 
After  the  sale  was  made  the  purchasers  ascertained  that  the  commandant, 
Captain  George  Turnbull,  had  taken  some  ten  feet  from  the  parcel  in  the  citadel 
for  the  purpose  of  opening  a  public  alley.  Steadman  was  called  upon  to  pay 
for  the  parcel  taken  for  the  alley,  or  the  resultant  damages.  Without  waiting 
for  the  appointment  of  the  tribunal  of  formal  arbitrators,  Steadman  himself 
appointed  "James  Sterling,  John  Porteous  and  George  McDougall,  or  anj^ 
other  thi'ee  impartial  persons,  to  examine  what  loss  the  said  Macombs  may  have 
sustained  by  the  want  of  that  piece  of  ground."  He  agreed  to  pay  whatever 
the  land  was  found  to  be  worth. 


While  upon  the  subject  of  the  stockade  and  baiTacks,  an  interesting  circum- 
stance is  disclosed  by  a  paper  on  file  in  the  Dominion  archives  at  Ottawa.  It 
relates  to  William  Forsyth,  who  was  a  tavern-keeper  at  the  time  noted.  His 
wife's  name  was  Ann.  She  had  been  married  twice  before  becoming  the  wife  of 
Forsyth.  Her  first  husband  was  a  Mr.  Haliburton,  chaplain  in  the  first  regiment, 
and  her  daughter,  Alice,  the  only  child  of  the  marriage,  married  first  to  Sampson 
Fleming  and  secondly  to  Nicholas  Low  of  New  York.     Ann's  second  husband 


was  a  Mr.  Kinzie,  or  McKinzie,  and  the  only  issue  of  this  marriage  was  John 
Kinzie,  the  first  white  man  in  Chicago.  By  her  third  marriage,  with  William 
Forsyth,  she  had  six  sons,  who  became  heads  of  families  important  in  the  annals 
of  Detroit  and  in  militarj'  affairs  of  our  government.  The  paper  referred  to 
reads  as  follows: 

"The  Humble  Petition  and  Memorial  of  William  Forsj^th,  Tavern  Keeper 
at  Detroit. 


"That  your  petitioner  has  served  his  Majesty  fourteen  years  in  the  Sixtyeth 
Regiment  of  Foot,  and  in  several  campaigns  along  with  your  Excellency  until 
the  Reduction  of  Canada  took  place,  where  he  was  wounded  in  thi'ee  places, 
which  rendered  him  unfit  for  future  service^  but  was  long  confined  bj'  sickness, 
and  a  great  expense  in  his  recovery  of  the  said  wounds,  and  being  unable  to 
gain  his  livelihood  by  hard  labor,  he  built  a  Ball  Alley  in  this  town,  in  the  year 
One  Thousand  Seven  Hundred  and  Eighty-six,  with  the  sanction  and  permLssion 
of  Major  Averum,  then  commandant  of  this  post,  which  cost  three  hundred 
and  eighty-one  pounds  of  New  York  currency. 

"That  when  Captain  Mann  arrived  here  it  was  thought  to  obstruct  the 
fortifications  and  was  of  consequence  ordered  to  be  pulled  clown  without  allow- 
ing any  consideration  and  the  loss  it  became  to  your  petitioner,  who  has  now  a 
large  family  to  support  and  which  reduces  his  circumstances. 

"Wherefore,  your  petitioner  humbly  prays  that  your  excellency  taking  the 
merits  of  his  service,  his  loss  and  the  situation  of  his  family  unto  consideration, 
will  be  pleased  to  order  that  your  petitioner  may  in  some  manner  be  reimbursed 
for  the  said  loss  of  Three  Hundred  and  Eighty-one  pounds  or  such  part  as  to 
your  Excellency  may  seem  meet. 

"And  your  petitioner  will  ever  pray, 


"Detroit,  2nd  August,  1789." 

The  citadel  referred  to,  and  for  the  enlargement  of  which  the  ball  alley  was 
pulled  down,  was  erected  just  to  the  west  of  the  old  picket  line  of  the  post. 
The  first  portion  of  it  was  built  by  Israel  Putnam  in  1764.  It  extended  from 
the  present  Jefferson  Avenue  in  a  northerly  direction  a  considerable  distance. 
It  was  nearly  triangular  in  shape,  surrounded  by  high  pickets  and  the  easterly 
side  was  the  picket  line  of  the  village.  It  held  all  the  troops  until  after  Fort 
Lernoult  was  completed  in  1779.  During  the  Revolution  it  was  used  as  a  prison- 
or  detention  room  for  prisoners  of  war  brought  here  from  the  Ohio  region. 


The  boundary  lines  of  the  farms  were  a  source  of  many  disputes  and  com- 
plaints became  so  common  that  the  commandant  made  an  appointment  which 
read  as  follows: 

"By  Henry  Basset,  Esqr.  Major  of  His  Majesty's  Tenth  Regiment,  Com- 
mandant of  Detroit  and  its  Dependencies: 

"In  consequence  of  the  repeated  complaints  made  by  several  of  the  inhalj- 
itants  that  their  neighbors  have  encroached  on  their  farms,  and  that  they  do 
not  actually  possess  the  quantity  specified  in  the  primitive  grants,  and  for 
which  they  pay  the  quit  rents  to  His  Majesty,  Mr.  James  Sterling,  being  an  ex- 
perienced and  approved  surveyor,  I  have  appointed  him  king's  surveyor  at 


Detroit,  and  for  the  future  his  surveys  only  shall  be  looked  upon  as  valid  and 
decisive,  and  all  whom  it  maj'  concern  are  hereby  ordered  to  conform  thereto. 

"Given  under  my  hand  and  seal  at  Detroit,  21st,  April,  1774. 

"Major  and  Commandant." 

While  this  commission  does  not,  in  itself,  give  the  surveyor  any  judicial 
authority,  it  probably  was  received  by  the  people  as  conferring  it.  Sterling 
was  a  prominent  citizen  in  the  place.  He  had  come  to  Detroit  as  early  as  1763 
and  perhaps  even  before  that  date.  He  had  married  Angelique  Cuillerier,  a 
daughter  of  Antoine  Cuillerier,  one  of  the  oldest  French  citizens,  and  his  con- 
stant association  with  the  Canadians  had  won  for  him  their  respect  and  con- 
fidence. He  not  onl3'  understood  their  language,  but  he  was  an  interpreter 
between  the  English  and  the  Indians.  He  was  a  trader,  sm-veyor,  collector 
of  public  revenues,  and  military  store-keeper. 


Toward  the  end  of  1767,  Sir  Guy  Carleton  sent  a  memorial  to  Lord  Shelburne 
concerning  the  legal  situation  of  Canada.  The  memorial  is  quite  long  and  a 
short  summary  of  its  contents  onl.y  shall  be  given  here.  The  people  of  Canada, 
he  wrote,  are  not  Britons,  but  Frenchmen  who  were  brought  up  under  laws  very 
different  from  those  followed  in  England;  that  on  the  mutation  of  lands  by 
sale  they  established  fines  to  the  king  instead  of  quit  rents.  Fines  and  dues 
w'ent  to  the  seigneur  and  he  was  obliged  to  grant  his  lands  at  a  very  low  rental. 
This  system  established  subordination  from  the  first  to  the  lowest  and  preserved 
internal  harmony  until  the  British  arrived.  All  this  was  changed  in  an  hour 
and  overturned  by  the  ordinance  of  1764.  The  laws  introduced  in  this  ordinance 
were  unpublished  and  unsuited  to  these  people,  and  the  ordinance  ought  to  be 
repealed  at  once.  The  greatest  complaint  arises  from  the  delaj'  in  hearing 
causes  and  the  heavy  expense  of  the  trials.  Formerly  the  king's  com-t  sat  once 
a  week  at  Quebec,  Montreal  and  Three  Rivers.  From  these  courts  an  appeal 
could  be  taken  to  the  council  that  sat  once  a  week.  Fees  were  very  small  and 
decisions  immediate.  Now  the  council  sits  three  times  a  year  at  Montreal 
and  has  introduced  all  the  chicanery  of  Westminster  hall  into  this  improverished 

Carleton  suggested  the  adoption  of  the  old  Canadian  laws  with  such  alter- 
ations as  time  might  render  advisable.  A  judge  should  reside  at  each  of  the 
places  above  named,  with  a  Canadian  assistant,  to  sit  at  least  once  a  month. 
None  of  the  judges  or  other  officers  of  court  should  receive  an.y  fee,  reward 
or  present  from  the  people,  but  should  depend  soleh-  on  a  salary.  Officers 
should  be  versed  in  the  French  language.  Sir  Guy,  to  expedite  matters,  proposed 
not  to  await  the  action  of  parliament,  but  to  pass  an  ordinance  of  the  council 
of  Canada  which  would  put  into  force  the  old  French  laws  so  far  as  the  tenures 
and  inheritance  of  land,  the  making  of  deeds,  mortgages  and  wills,  but  the 
ordinance  proposed  by  him  was  never  enacted  and  indeed  there  is  no  evidence 
that  it  was  ever  submitted  to  the  council  for  action.  This  was  the  political 
situation  of  Detroit  and  of  all  Canada  (for  Detroit  was  first  included  in  Canada 
at  this  time)  in  the  year  1774. 

General  James  Murray  was  appointed  governor  over  the  province  of  Quebec 
December  7,  1763.  The  governor  was  empowered  to  appoint  courts  of  judicature 
and  justice  with  the  advice  and  consent  of  the  assemblv  or  council.    The  historj' 


of  Canada  does  not  indicate  that  Murray  or  his  successor,  Carleton,  ever  under- 
took to  establish  a  system  of  judiciary  in  Detroit  or  over  the  western  country. 
Sir  Guy  Carleton  (afterwards  Lord  Dorchester)  was  the  governor  until 
after  the  outbreak  of  the  Revolution,  and  during  the  period  from  1760  until  1774 
Detroit  was  omitted  from  the  country  supposed  to  be  governed  by  any  legal 
authority.  It  is  very  hard  to  determine  just  how  the  country  was  looked  upon 
by  the  British.  The  village  was  under  militarj'  authority  always,  and  the  troops 
stationed  in  the  garrison  were  subject  to  the  military  authorities  of  Canada. 


In  1774  there  was  introduced  and  passed  in  parliament  the  act  commonly 
known  as  the  "Quebeck  act."  During  the  passage  of  this  act  Carletoii  was 
summoned  before  a  committee  of  the  house  of  parliament  to  testify  regarding 
affairs  in  the  province  of  Quebec,  and  from  his  testimony  it  may  be  ascertained 
how  little  was  known  in  England  of  the  geography  of  America.  Carleton  said 
that  the  officers  of  justice  should  proceed  farther  into  the  interior  of  the  govern- 
ment than  they  had  and  that  he  did  not  understand  that  the  country  as  far  as 
the  Ohio  was  ever  under  the  government  of  Quebec.  He  was  then  asked  to  in- 
form the  committee  whether  Detroit  and  Michigan  were  under  the  govern- 
ment. He  replied,  "Detroit  is  not  under  the  government;  Michigan  is  under 
it.  There  is  very  little  inconvenience  in  governing  them,  for  this  reason — there 
are  very  few  Europeans  settled  there.  I  do  not  know  the  settlement  of  Detroit 
verj'  accurately.  It  has  been  established  for  some  time.  The  intendant  had 
delegates  up  there,  but  there  was  very  little  business." 

Detroit,  he  stated,  was  not  under  civil  government,  and  Lord  North,  in 
the  debates  on  the  same  subject,  stated  that  the  distant  military  posts  were 
without  any  government  other  than  that  of  the  respective  commanding  officers. 
It  is  possible  that  this  ignorance  of  the  geography  of  the  country  was  the  reason 
that  Detroit  was  excluded  from  the  boundaries  of  the  province  of  Quebec  in 
the  proclamation  of  1763  and  was  consequently  omitted  from  civil  government. 

The  Quebec  Act  extended  the  boundaries  of  Quebec  southward  to  the  banks 
of  the  Ohio  and  northward  to  the  boundary  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company,  so 
that  Detroit,  for  the  first  time,  now  came  within  the  limits  of  the  civil  courts  of 
Great  Britain.  The  right  of  trial  by  jury  in  civil  cases  was  not  provided  in  the 
Act,  but  the  ancient  civil  laws  of  France  were  to  be  followed.  The  criminal  law 
of  England  was  adopted. 


In  1773  there  was  laid  before  parliament  a  draft  of  an  act  for  the  government 
of  Quebec  which  recited  a  law  enacted  in  1745,  under  the  French  regime,  designed 
to  prevent  the  division  of  farms  into  small  parcels  by  allotment  between  the 
children  of  a  decedent  land  owner.  This  act  provided  that  no  dwelling  house  or 
stable  of  stone  or  wood  should  be  built  upon  any  parcel  of  land  of  less  extent 
than  an  arpent  and  a  half  in  front  bj'  thirty  arpents  in  depth  or  containing  less 
than  forty-five  French  arpents  (or  English  acres).  If  any  building  was  erected 
upon  any  smaller  parcel,  the  owner  should  pay  a  fine  of  one  hundred  livres,  equal 
to  four  pounds  ten  shillings,  and  the  building  should  be  destroyed.  The  English 
act,  to  attain  the  same  ends,  provided  that  the  oldest  son  or  daughter  should 
inherit  to  the  exclusion  of  all  the  other  children. 

The  object  of  these  provisions  was  to  leave  the  ancestral  home  undivided  and 


compel  every  other  nieinber  of  the  family  to  ?eek  a  new  parcel  of  land  and  thus 
bring  more  land  under  cultivation  and  prevent  the  people  from  living  in  a  "  mean, 
scanty  and  wretched  manner  upon  small  pieces  of  land  which  are  hardly  suffi- 
cient to  maintain  them."  The  plan  thus  presented  was  not  adopted  or  enacted 
for  the  government  of  Canada,  but,  practically,  at  the  death  of  an  ancestor  his 
property  was  divided  equally  between  his  children. 

The  ancient  Freijch  law  was  carried  out  in  another  way.  Upon  the  death  of 
a  land  owner,  the  ancestral  home,  if  .small,  was  taken  by  some  one  of  the  children, 
who  paid  to  his  brothers  or  sisters  a  sum  equal  to  the  share  of  each  in  the  home 
propertj',  and  thus  the  ownership  of  that  parcel  was  retained  in  the  hands  of  one 
person  without  division.  Numerous  instances  of  this  nature  could  be  cited,  but 
only  one,  that  of  Jean  Baptiste  Beaubien,  will  be  given  here. 

In  this  case  the  ancestor,  Jean  Baptiste  Beaubien,  held  a  large  tract  of  land 
on  what  are  now  Beaubien  and  St.  Antoine  Streets.  Upon  his  death  it  was  con- 
cluded that  the  farm  was  too  large  to  be  owned  by  one  son,  and  so  it  was  divided 
liy  a  line  running  northerly  from  the  river  the  entire  length  of  the  farm,  three 
miles,  and  one  portion  allotted  to  Lambert  Beaubien  and  the  other  to  Antoine 
Beaubien,  two  of  the  sons. 

There  were  many  other  children  in  the  family  and  to  each  of  these  was  given 
a  sum  of  money  or  other  property  by  Antoine  and  Lambert,  in  satisfaction  of 
their  interests  in  this  farm. 

Another  and  quite  usual  method  of  preventing  a  division  of  the  home  at  the 
death  of  the  ancestor  was  for  one  of  the  .sons  or  sons-in-law  to  enter  into  an  agree- 
ment W'ith  the  parents  or  ancestors  to  maintain  and  keep  them  for  life  upon  con- 
dition that  at  their  death  the  property  would  belong  to  the  ones  giving  the  sup- 
port. There  are  many  of  these  agreements  on  record,  but  the  one  best  known 
is  that  of  Gabriel  Chene  farm. 

This  farm  was  owned  by  Jean  Baptiste  Campau  and  when  he  became  aged 
he  entered  into  a  contract  with  his  son-in-law,  Gabriel  Chene,  to  care  for  him  for 
life,  and  upon  his  death  Chene  \vas  to  have  the  farm.  This  land  is  located  at  t  he 
present  Chene  Street.  There  was  some  dispute  betw-een  Chene  and  the  children 
of  Campau  as  to  whether  Chene  had  carried  out  his  agreement,  and  the  courts 
were  appealed  to,  with  the  result  that  Chene's  rights  were  fully  confirmed  and 
the  complete  title  vested  in  him. 


Sir  Guy  Carleton  was  the  first  governor  under  the  Quebec  act  and  in  the  letter 
of  instructions  to  him,  January  3,  1775,  he  was  directed  to  establish  a  court  of 
king's  bench,  for  the  trial  of  criminal  cases,  and  in  order  that  more  speedy  justice 
might  be  administered  he  was  directed  to  divide  the  province  into  two  districts, 
to  be  named  Quebec  and  Montreal,  and  in  each  of  the  said  districts  there  should 
l3e  a  court  of  common  pleas  to  determine  all  civil  suits.  In  each  of  said  courts 
there  should  be  three  judges,  two  of  whom  should  be  natural  born  subjects  of 
Great  Britain  and  one  Canadian,  also  one  sheriff  in  each  district.  There  should 
also  be  inferior  coiu'ts  of  criminal  and  civil  jurisdiction  "in  each  of  the  districts 
of  the  Illinois,  St.  Vincenne,  Detroit,  IMissillimackinac  and  Gaspee,  by  the  name 
of  the  king's  bench  for  such  district." 

The  judge  of  this  court  was  to  be  an  English-born  subject,  but  he  was  to  have 
a  Canadian  as  an  assistant  to  give  advice  when  necessary.  Tiiev  liad  authority 
in  civil  and  criminal  cases,  as  the  judges  of  the  common  pleas  iiad  in  othrr  places. 


"excepting  only  that  in  cases  of  treason,  murder  or  other  capital  felonies  the  said 
judges  shall  have  no  other  authority  than  that  of  arrest  and  commitment  to  the 
gaols  of  Quebec,  or  of  Montreal,  where  alone  offenders  in  such  cases  shall  be  tried 
before  our  chief  justice." 

It  was  many  years  before  any  judge  was  appointed  at  Detroit  as  directed  by 
these  instructions.  This  delay  was  doubtlessly  due  to  the  outbreak  of  the  Revo- 
lution and  the  consequent  disarrangement  of  British  plans.  Carleton  was  di- 
rected to  appoint  a  superintendent  at  Detroit  and  some  of  the  other  western 
posts,  but  not  to  permit  other  settlements  to  be  established,  as  they  excited  the 
enmity  of  the  savages.  As  an  annual  budget  the  governor  was  permitted  to  pay 
the  lieutenant-governor  or  superintendent  at  Detroit  two  hundred  pounds  per 
year,  but  this  sum  was  saved  for  some  time,  for  the  first  lieutenant-governor  of 
Detroit  was  not  appointed  until  several  years  after  this,  and  before  such  appoint- 
ment the  salary  was  increased  to  five  hundred  pounds.  Purchases  of  land  from 
the  Indians  were  forbidden,  except  in  cases  where  the  entire  Indian  nation  made 
the  grant  at  a  general  meeting  and  consent  to  the  transfer  was  given  by  the  entire 


It  has  already  been  noted  that  there  was  no  bank  at  Detroit  and  that  the 
more  extensive  traders  performed  the  work  of  bankers  for  their  customers,  but 
this  work  did  not  supply  the  place  of  banks  of  issue.  There  was  alwa3's  a  dearth 
of  bills,  paper  money,  specie  and  fractional  currency.  Hard  money  could  not 
be  obtained  in  sufficient  quantities  to  carry  on  business  properly  and  some  of  the 
the  merchants  issued  personal  bills  to  aid  the  storekeepers.  The  commandant, 
on  one  occasion  at  least,  issued  a  number  of  these  bills,  which  passed  for  money 
for  some  time.  When  these  bills  came  in  from  their  use  thej'  were  redeemed  and 
destroyed.  There  are  several  items  in  old  account  books  of  this  and  of  later 
periods,  showing  that  these  bills  were  taken  care  of  in  this  manner.  In  the  ar- 
chives at  Washington  some  of  their  paper  money  can  be  found,  which  was  pre- 
pared but  never  actually  issued.  During  the  Revolution  and  under  an  earlier 
date,  September  17,  1774,  the  following  entry  is  made  in  the  records. 

"Received  from  James  Sterling,  Esq.,  43  pounds  8  shillings,  New  York  cur- 
rency in  Major  Henry  Bassett's  current  bills,  which  I  have  burnt  in  presence  of 
the  said  James  Sterling,  conformable  to  Major  Henry  Bassett's  instructions. 

"Bills,  one  at  112 £5         12 

"Bills,  two  at  100 10         12 

"Bills,  six  at  60 IS 

"Bills,  nine  at  20 9 

"Bills,  two  at  8 16 

£43  8 

"R.  B.  Lernoult, 
"Capt.  comman't  at  the  Detroit." 


It  was  long  difficult  to  determine  how,  in  the  absence  of  courts,  of  lawyers, 
and  of  civil  officers,  debts  secured  by  mortgages  could  be  collected.  Two  cases 
of  this  kind  occurred  in  the  year  1774,  which  indicates  the  method  employed 
at  that  time.  Perhaps  the  plan  was  not  legal,  but  if  it  was  not,  it  was  certainly 
practicable  in  these  instances. 


The  first  case  was  that  of  a  mortgage  made  by  Charles  Aiuh'e  Barthe  to 
Rankin  and  Edgar,  on  a  piece  of  land  on  the  border  of  Lake  St.  Clair,  in  Grosse 
Point  e. 

The  second  case  was  another  mortgage  made  by  Charles  Andre  Barthe  to 
Daniel  Campbell,  a  merchant  of  Schenectady,  and  to  Messrs.  Rankin  and 
Edgar,  merchants  of  Detroit,  on  a  farm  known  in  recent  j'ears  as  the  Brush 
farm,  then  described  as  being  two  arpents  front  by  eighty  arpents  deep,  bounded 
on  the  east  by  the  lands  of  Jean  Baptiste  Beaubien  and  on  the  west  bj^  the 
"Domaine  du  Roy." 

Default  having  been  made  in  the  payment  of  these  mortgages,  Phillipe 
Dejean,  justice  of  the  peace,  sold  both  parcels  at  public  auction  to  Jean  Askin 
the  first  parcel  bringing  one  hundred  pounds.  New  York  currency,  and  the 
latter  two  hundred  and  fifty-five  pounds.  As  an  evidence  that  the  sales  were 
considered  perfectly  legal  and  valid,  one  only  needs  to  know  that  the  last 
described  parcel  of  land  has,  since  the  date  of  that  sale,  remained  in  the  posses- 
sion and  ownership  of  said  Askin  and  his  descendants.  A  daughter  of  John 
Askin  became  the  wife  of  Elijah  Brush,  who  was  the  father  of  Edmund  A. 
Brush,  and  his  grand-daughter  is  Mrs.  Frelinghausen,  of  New  York.  As  Mr. 
Barthe  was  the  father  of  Mrs.  John  Askin,  we  have  a  parcel  of  land  the  title  to 
which  has  remained  in  one  family  for  six  successive  generations. 


An  earlier  case,  under  the  French  regime,  of  a  proceeding  .similar  to  a  fore- 
closure, occurred  in  1748.  Hyacinth  Reaume  and  Agatha  La  Salle,  his  wife, 
were  the  owners  of  a  farm  of  eighty  arpents,  which  was  mortgaged  to  Robert 
Leserre.  Reaume  also  owed  various  other  debts  which  he  was  unable  to  pay. 
He  petitioned  the  French  commandant,  Joseph  Lemoine,  sieur  de  Longueuil, 
for  permission  to  sell  the  property,  and  the  latter  ordered  the  notarj^,  Navarre, 
to  proceed  with  a  sale  and  devote  the  proceeds  to  paying  first,  the  mortgage, 
and  then  the  other  del)ts  of  Reaume.  The  proclamation  of  sale  was  made 
during  four  different  days,  in  all  the  streets  of  the  fort,  by  St.  Sauveur,  the 
drummer  of  the  garrison.  The  first  proclamation  was  made  on  Monday  after 
Pentecost,  June  3,  1748;  the  second  on  Tuesday,  the  second  feast  of  Pentacost, 
June  4,  1748,  and  continued  on  Wednesday,  the  fifth  day  of  the  same  month, 
and  put  off  until  Sunday,  June  9th,  on  which  day  the  farm  was  sold  by  order 
of  the  commandant  to  Claude  L'Esprit  dit  Champagne,  for  one  thousand  and 
six  livres.  This  sale  cannot  be  deemed  a  foreclosure,  for  it  was  made  at  the 
request  of  the  owners  and  not  at  the  instance  of  the  mortgagee.  The  deed  of 
conveyance  is  sign  d  l)y  the  royal  notary,  Navarre,  and  is  approved  by  the 
commandant,  l)ut  it  is  not  signed  Ijy  the  Rcaumcs,  nor  is  it  witnessed. 


The  articles  of  capitulation — indeed,  every  official  paper  of  the  period — 
concedes  the  fact  that  the  citizens  were  all  French,  and  all  Catholic,  that  they 
were  entitled  to  their  property  and  to  maintain  their  religion.  With  the  intro- 
duction of  the  new  English  citizens,  it  was  hoped  that  the  time  would  shortly 
come  when  English  laws  might  be  introduced  and  steps  were  constantly  taken 
with  this  ol)ject  in  view. 

There  were  no  pul^lic  schools,  so  that  the  Canadians  could  not  be  instructed 
in  tile  new  language  through  this  medium.     There  were  public  records  to  be 


kept  and  we  have  alreadj'  seen  that  the  register  of  Detroit,  Dejean,  was  directed 
to  keep  them  in  the  EngHsh  language.  The  directions  to  Dejean  to  use  Enghsh 
in  his  records  were  given  by  a  military  commandant.  The  use  of  the  English 
language  was  not  required  by  any  statute. 

For  many  years,  even  as  late  as  1820,  it  was  no  unusual  matter  in  Detroit 
to  call  juries  composed  in  half  of  English-speaking  jurors  and  half  of  French- 

The  most  important  subj  ect  of  discussion  in  parliament  concerning  the  govern- 
ment of  Canada  was  how  to  treat  the  new  subjects  fairly,  and  yet  proceed  to 
make  Englishmen  of  them  without  letting  them  know  of  the  change.  By 
Detroit  is  not  meant  the  present  city,  but  the  surrounding  country,  which  at 
that  time  was  quite  thickly  settled  and  had  a  population,  on  both  sides  of  the 
river,  of  several  hundred  Canadian  farmers  and  traders.  Although  Detroit 
was  the  most  important  settlement  in  the  new  portion  of  the  province,  very 
little  information  can  be  derived  from  the  printed  histories  regarding  the  place 
or  of  the  methods  used  in  governing  it.  The  population  of  the  Detroit  district 
in  1773  was  1,367  and  in  1782  was  2,191,  as  will  be  detailed  later. 

According  to  the  treaty  of  1763  and  Bell's  map  of  that  date,  the  territory 
around  Detroit  was  not  located  in  any  of  the  provinces  or  colonies  known  at 
that  date.  The  Colony  of  Virginia  extended  westerly  in  a  straight  line  to  the 
Mississippi.  The  territory  west  of  Pennsylvania,  and  north  of  Virginia,  includ- 
ing all  of  the  Great  Lakes,  and  extending  northerh^  to  Lake  Nipissing,  was 

We  know  that  the  English  people  in  general  were  ignorant  of  the  geography 
of  this  part  of  the  country  and  we  have  seen  that  Lord  Dorchester,  though 
governor  of  the  Canadian  possessions,  did  not  know  of  the  location  of  Detroit 
and  Michigan,  though  he  certainly  knew  of  the  existence  of  Detroit,  for  soldiers 
had  been  sent  both  here  and  to  Michilimackinac.  and  these  places  were  then 
occupied  bj^  British  garrisons. 


The  articles  of  capitulation  of  Quebec  are  dated  September  18,  1759.  One 
of  the  provisions  of  these  articles  was  that  citizens  were  not  to  be  disturbed  in 
their  property  rights  until  a  definite  treaty  was  signed  between  England  and 
France.  It  was  nearly  a  year  before  Montreal  capitulated  and  the  articles 
there  entered  into  were  dated  September  8,  1760.  It  was  in  pursuance  of  the 
terms  of  the  agreement  then  entered  into  that  Maj.  Robert  Rogers  took  possession 
of  Detroit  a  few  weeks  later. 

It  was  provided  in  the  Montreal  agreement  that  if  Canada,  by  the  definite 
treaty  of  peace,  should  be  restored  to  France,  all  officers  should  be  returned  to 
their  respective  places  and  the  capitulation  should  be  null  and  void.  If  Canada 
should  remain  to  Great  Britain,  the  French  people  who  decided  to  remain  in 
Canada  should  become  British  subjects  and  should  retain  their  own  property- 
and  be  permitted  to  exercise  their  own  religion,  but  be  governed  in  their  property 
rights  by  the  laws,  customs  and  usages  theretofore  established  in  Quebec. 


The  final  treaty  was  concluded  at  Paris  February  10,  1763  and  France  ceded 
to  Great  Britain  all  of  her  possessions  in  Canada.     In  pursuance  of  this  treaty- 


a  proclamation  was  issued  October  7,  1763,  establishing  the  Province  of  Quebec, 
having  a  governor,  council,  and  assembly,  with  authority  to  pass  laws  and 
ordinances  agreeable  to  the  laws  of  England.  Considerable  confusion  and 
difficulty  arose  and  the  proclamation  became  only  partly  operative.  The  main 
thing  in  which  we  aie  now  interested,  however,  is  the  territorial  lines  of  this 
new  province. 

The  southern  line  of  the  Province  of  Quebec,  under  the  proclamation  of 
1763,  ran  along  the  St.  Lawrence  River  nearly  to  Lake  Ontario  and  then,  turning 
to  the  northwest,  extended  to  Lake  Nipissing.  The  northern  boundary  extended 
northeasterly  from  Lake  Nipissing,  so  that  Quebec  was  nearly  in  the  shape  of 
a  triangle  and  did  not  cover  a  great  area  of  western  territorj\  None  of  the 
extreme  northwest  was  included  within  its  boundaries  and  no  land  south  of 
Lake  Nipissing  was  in  the  province.  All  of  the  Great  Lakes  and  all  of  the 
adjacent  territory  remained  outside  of  the  province  and  in  what  was  then  termed 
the  "Indian  country." 

It  is  probable  that  the  principal  reason  Great  Britain  had  for  making  Quebec 
cover  so  small  an  area  was  that,  if  she  should  be  required  to  return  the  province 
to  France,  she  could  insist  that  the  land  captured  from  France  only  included 
this  comparatively  small  tract  and  that  the  English  possessions  in  North  America 
included  all  of  the  remaining  portions,  and  had  included  them  for  all  previous 
time.  She  could  refer  to  this  proclamation  of  1763  as  proof  and  also  to  the  long 
list  of  complaints  that  the  French  at  Detroit  were  adventurers  in  possession 
of  British  territory.  This  claim  was  made  as  long  ago  as  when  the  post  of 
Detroit  was  situated  on  the  site  of  the  present  Port  Huron,  where  it  w^as  aban- 
doned and  destroyed  by  Baron  La  Hontan  in  1689  and  where  the  two  English 
officers,  McGregor  and  Rosebloom,  were  captured  by  the  French  the  same  year. 

A  further  reason  for  this  act  was  that  given  by  Edmund  Burke  in  the  debate 
on  the  Quebec  bill  in  the  House  of  Commons  in  1774.  He  said  that  the  govern- 
ment of  France  was  good,  but  that  as  compared  with  the  English  government, 
that  of  France  was  slavery.  The  object  then  of  fixing  the  boundary  line  of 
Canada  and  of  Quebec  so  far  north,  in  the  proclamation  of  1763,  was  for  the 
purpose  of  confining  the  operation  of  the  French  laws  to  as  small  space  as  po.s- 
sible  and  yet  to  carry  out  the  terms  of  the  treaty  of  that  year. 

As  time  elapsed  and  the  French  became  accustomed  to  their  new  masters, 
the  laws  of  New  York,  or  of  some  of  the  other  colonies,  would  be  extended  over 
the  newlj'-acquired  territory  that  was  south  of  the  southerly  boundary  of 
Canada.  Burke  objected  to  the  method  of  procedure.  He  proposed  that  the 
southern  line  of  Canada  should  be  the  northern  line  of  the  colony  of  New  York, 
the  western  line  of  Pennsylvania  and  the  Ohio  River  to  the  Mississippi,  and  it 
was  at  his  urgent  request  that  this  line  was  inserted  in  the  Quebec  Act  of  1774, 
and  became  the  legal  southerly  boundary  of  Canada. 

Then,  for  the  first  time,  did  Detroit  come  under  the  civil  government  of 
England.  Before  that  time  it  was  under  the  military  government  of  the  king 
personally,  over  which  parliament  exercised  no  control.  The  old  colonies  never 
accepted  the  terms  of  the  Quebec  Act  as  fixing  this  line  and  when  the  Revolution 
ended  in  1783,  they  claimed  all  the  territory  south  of  the  Great  Lakes  as  a  part 
of  their  original  colonial  grants.  The  colony,  or  state,  of  Connecticut  actually 
took  possession  of  and  sold  for  its  own  benefit  a  large  tract  in  the  northern  part 
of  Ohio  and  the  states  of  Pennsylvania  and  Virginia  only  ceded  their  claims  to 
this  territory  upon  receiving  satisfaction  in  some  other  waj'. 



It  would  be  interesting  to  know  the  reasons  whj^  a  public  apologj'  should 
become  necessary  from  one  of  Detroit's  foremost  citizens  to  the  notary,  Dejean. 
Such  was  made  in  October,  1774.  Perhaps  a  showing  of  disrespect  to  the 
"judge"  was  considered  a  contempt  of  court  that  was  only  to  be  condoned  bj'^  a 
fine  or  an  apology.  No  matter  what  the  cause,  or  reason,  the  public  records 
contain  the  interesting  item; 

"Detroit,  21st  October,  1774. 

"Sir: — I  confess  to  have  used  you  verj'  ill  in  presence  of  the. committee  and 
several  other  merchants  on  the  night  of  the  nineteenth  instant  by  several  rash 
and  unbecoming  aspersions  for  which  I  am  very  sorrj',  and  which  I  hope  you 
will  be  so  good  as  to  forgive,  as  it  was  entirely  the  effect  of  liquor,  whereof  I  had 
drank  too  freely.     I  am,  Sir,  your  most  obedient  servant. 

"George  Meldrum. 
"To  Philip  Dejean,  Esqr." 

One  of  the  interesting  items  contained  in  these  old  records  is  to  be  found  in 
the  following  entry  in  Volume  A,  on  page  262. 

"This  day  personally  appeared  before  me,  Henry  Bassett,  major  in  the  Tenth 
Regiment,  commanding  Detroit,  etc.,  Philip  Dejean  (acting)  as  justice  of  the 
peace  for  said  place,  who  made  oath  on  the  holy  evangelist  of  Almighty  God, 
that  one  Basile  Favro  declared  before  him  that  he  had  himself  murdered  one 
St.  Amour,  his  bourgeois,,  he  farther  declared  that  he  did  not  use  any  violence 
or  torture  to  get  that  confession  from  said  Basile  Favro.  Sworn  before  me  this 
21st  day  of  December  1773. 

"P.  Dejean. 
"Henry  Bassett,  major  commandant." 

The  details  of  this  crime  cannot  be  determined,  nor  can  it  be  ascertained 
whether  any  trial  was  had,  nor  where  it  was  conducted  if  one  was  granted. 
The  most  important  item  of  information  to  be  obtained  from  the  record  is  that 
torture  of  some  kind  was  resorted  to  in  order  to  obtain  confessions  in  some 
instances,  and  that  this  method  was  unlawful.  The  name  of  Favro  does  not 
occur  in  the  list  of  Detroit  citizens,  but  that  of  St.  Amour  is  found  frequently. 
Apparently,  in  this  case,  the  examination  of  the  culprit  was  taken  before  the 
commandant  and  the  result  put  into  the  form  of  an  affidavit  for  use  in  some 
higher  court,  but  recorded  in  this  office  for  safekeeping  on  the  6th  of  July,  1774. 

It  will  be  noticed  that  the  crime  was  committed  while  Detroit  was  in  the 
Indian  country,  so  that  the  trial  should  have  taken  place  at  Quebec,  under  the 
Mutiny  Act. 


If  crimes  and  misdemeanors  could  not  be  punished  legally  by  the  court  at 
Detroit,  they  could  be  prevented  if  opportunity  for  legal  interference  was  given. 
An  instance  of  this  kind  occurred  in  August,  1774.  Thomas  Dagg  was  accused 
by  John  Shipboy  of  threatening  to  commit  an  assault  upon  him,  and  thereupon 
had  a  proceeding  similar  to  the  present  "bond  to  keep  the  peace."  Shipboy 
appeared  before  Dejean  and  made  oath  to  the  threat  of  Dagg  and  on  the  succeed- 
ing day,  August  21,  1774,  Dagg  was  summoned  before  the  justice  to  give  his 
version  of  the  affair.  There  was  no  trial.  Dagg  denied  that  he  ever  made  the 
threats  and  made  an  oath  that  he  would  never  commit  an  assault  upon  Shipboy 


ill  the  future.     Dagg  had  been  a  member  of  the  Tenth  Regiment,  but  had 
terminated  his  service,  so  that  he  was  no  longer  amenable  to  military  orders. 

A  few  other  very  similar  cases  can  be  ^iven  in  connection.  Francois  Mille- 
homnie  and  John  Peck  (or  Pieke)  had  a  quarrel  in  which  the  latter  was  injured. 
Upon  seeking  the  assistance  of  the  justice,  arbitrators  were  chosen  to  settle  the 
differences  and  award  damages,  as  required  by  the  terms  of  Dej  can's  appoint- 
ment.    The  result,  entered  in  the  old  records  at  page  300,  is  as  follows: 

"Whereas,  Messrs.  Sterling,  Baby,  Porteous  and  Chapoton  were  nominated 
and  appointed  arbitrators  to  determine  between  John  Peck  and  Francois 
iNIillehomme,  for  the  said  Millehomme  having  stabbed  the  said  Peck  with  a  knife 
in  the  stomach,  and  said  arbitrators  not  agreeing  in  their  award,  William  Edgar 
being  chosen  umpire,  is  of  the  following  opinion,  to  which  the  aforesaid  Sterling, 
Baby,  Porteous  and  Chapoton  have  agreed,  that  Francois  ^Millehomme  do  pay 
unto  the  said  John  Peck  sixty  pounds  (New  York  currency)  and  give  such 
security  for  his  future  behavior  as  the  commandant  may  think  proper. 

"William  Edgar, 
"James  Sterling, 
"D.  Baby, 
"John  Porteous, 
"B.  Chapoton. 

"Detroit,  25th  March,  1775, 
P.  Dejean,  J.  P." 

In  order  to  carry  out  the  award  and  to  be  released  from  jail,  Millehomme 
gave  a  bond  for  good  behavior  in  the  future.  His  bondsman  was  Antoine  ]\Iini, 
and  the  amount  of  the  bond  was  one  hundred  pounds  sterling.  The  condition 
was  that  MOlehomme  should  not,  for  a  year  and  a  day  from  date,  make  any 
attack  on  the  said  Peck  or  on  any  of  the  subjects  of  his  majesty,  CJeorge  III, 
king  of  Great  Britain.  The  witnesses  to  the  bond  were  Joseph  Pouget  and 
William  Brown. 

A  similar  bond  was  exacted  from  Etienne  Livernois  for  having  committed 
an  assault  upon  Gregor  McGregor.  The  bondsman  was  Joseph  Pouget.  Pierre 
Delorrier  and  Charles  Levert  gave  such  a  bond  in  behalf  of  a  man  named  Bertrand 
for  an  assault  upon  Mr.  Hanin.  This  bond,  unlike  the  others,  is  not  signed  and 
is  more  in  the  nature  of  a  recognizance. 

No  courts  were  established  at  Detroit  and  all  kinds  of  schemes  were  devised 
to  avoid  the  complications  which  might  arise  from  their  absence. 

In  1775  one  Francois  Millehomme,  a  minor,  had  a  farm  at  Grosse  Pointe, 
which  had  come  to  him  by  inheritance.  His  father,  Francois  Petit  dit  ]\Iille- 
homme,  his  mother  Catherine  Miny  being  dead,  wished  to  dispose  of  the  farm 
for  the  good  of  the  son.  He  found  a  purchaser  in  William  Brown,  and  the 
father  executed  a  deed  of  the  place  to  Brown.  In  order  to  insure  the  validity 
of  the  transaction  an  approval  of  the  sale  was  drawn  up  and  signed  by  all  the 
relatives  of  the  young  man,  and  the  approval  was  recorded  with  the  deed.  The 
names  of  those  signing  the  approval  were:  Antoine  Mini,  Gatezan  Seguin  ilit 
La  Deroute,  Joseph  Miny,  an  uncle,  Jean  Baptiste  Cuillerier  Beaubien,  a  cousin, 
Pierre  St.  Cosme,  cousin,  Claude  Gouin,  a  friend,  Augustin  La  Foye,  a  cousin 
German,  Antoine  Miny,  an  uncle.  It  would  seem  that  the  relatives  and  friends 
thus  became  guarantors  of  the  transaction  and  thus,  possibly,  were  obliged  to 
see  tliat  the  avails  of  the  sale  were  used  for  the  benefit  of  the  minor.     No  authority 


of  any  court,  nor  approval  of  the  commandant,  is  attached  to  the  deed  referred 
to  here. 

Violations  of  rules  of  the  commanding  officer  could  be  punished  by  that 
officer  after  military  court-martial,  if  the  culprit  was  a  soldier,  but  in  case  he 
was  a  civilian  it  is  possible  that  other  means  had  to  be  used.  It  is  likely  that  an 
Englishman  would  desire  to  be  tried  by  a  jury,  even  if  the  punishment,  if  one 
was  meted  out  to  him,  was  directed  by  the  commandant.  There  is  a  case  of 
disobedience  of  the  rules  and  regulations  of  the  commanding  officer  by  one 
Jacob  Adams  (the  register  spells  the  name  Adhams)  in  1775. 

Adams,  on  being  brought  before  the  justice,  either  pleaded  guilty  to  the 
charge  or  was  convicted;  the  record  does  not  indicate  which  was  the  case;  and 
gave  a  bond  for  future  good  behavior  in  the  sum  of  one  hundred  pounds,  with 
James  Rankin  and  Colin  Andrews  as  sureties. 


One  of  the  oddest  business  agreements  ever  seen  in  connection  with  the 
colonial  history  of  Detroit  was  entered  into  by  the  merchants  in  1774.  There 
had  been  continual  complaints  of  the  injuries  resulting  from  the  sale  of  liquor 
to  the  Indians.  The  complaints  had  been  of  long  standing,  both  under  French 
and  British  rule,  and  attempts  to  curb  or  prevent  the  traffic  were  continually 
being  made  with  little  success.  The  effort  was  new,  so  far  as  the  people  were 
concerned,  but  the  idea  had  been  promulgated  three  quarters  of  a  century  earlier 
by  Cadillac.  The  effort  at  this  time  was  the  result  of  a  feeling  on  the  part  of  the 
traders  that  this  traffic  was  injurious  to  their  business  interests,  and  not 
of  anything  immoral  in  the  sale  of  rum.  The  agreement  is  self-explanatory  and 
so  interesting  that  it  will  be  given  entire. 

"Whereas,  we,  the  subscribers,  find  the  selling  of  rum  or  other  spiritous 
liquors  among  the  Indians  at  their  settlements  detrimental  to  trade  and  dangerous 
to  the  subjects,  do  hereby  oblige  ourselves  to  conform  to  the  following  regulations: 

"1st.  In  order  the  better  to  regulate  the  sale  of  rum  to  the  savages,  and  to 
confine  it  entirely  to  the  fort,  we  herebj^  agree  to  establish  a  general  rum  store 
in  this  fort,  for  which  purpose  we  promise  to  deliver  into  said  store  an  equal 
proportion  of  rums  and  keggs  necessary  for  that  purpose,  which  store  shall  be 
regulated  by  the  committee  hereinafter  named  and  appointed  for  that  intent. 

"2nd.  None  of  us,  the  concerned  in  this  agreement,  shall,  under  any  pretence 
whatsoever,  sell,  vend,  or  barter  with  any  Indians  or  Indian,  male  or  female, 
any  rum  or  other  spiritous  liquors  for  any  commodity  whatsoever,  which  shall 
be  brought  for  sale  by  said  Indians,  but  every  kind  of  skins,  furs,  trinkets, 
sugar,  grease,  or  tallow,  in  short  everything  the  savages  may  bring  to  market 
to  dispose  of  for  rum,  the  same  shall  be  bought  at  the  general  store  only,  it 
being  our  true  intent  and  meaning  that  no  Indian  or  squaw  shall  receive  directly 
or  indirectly,  either  by  present  or  otherwise,  in  any  of  our  houses,  more  than 
one  small  glass  of  rum  at  any  time  during  the  continuance  of  our  said  general 
store,  and  that  no  skins  or  furs  whatsoever  shall  be  exchanged  with  Indians  on 
any  pretense. 

"3d.  That  we  will  not  vend  or  sell  an_y  spiritous  liquors  whatsoever  to  any 
person  or  persons  intending  to  retail  or  otherwise  disposed  of  the  same  to  savages 
of  any  nation  whatsoever,  neither  will  we  on  our  own  proper  account  send  or 
caiTy  any  rum  or  spiritous  liquors  among  any  tribe  or  nations  of  Indians,  with 
an  intent  to  vend  the  same  to  said  Indians. 


"4th.  We  further  obhge  ourselves  not  to  vend  or  dispose  of  rum  or  spiritous 
liquors  to  any  person  or  persons  residing  or  sojourning  among  the  savages,  or 
to  an}'  person  concerned  in  traffic  with  them  in  any  wise  whatsoever,  unless  the 
persons  who  purchase  those  liquors  shall  first  bind  him  or  themselves  under 
oath  properly  taken  before  the  commanding  officer,  or  some  magistrate,  not  to 
dispose  of,  vend,  or  sell  by  retail  or  otherwise,  the  said  liquors  to  savages,  or 
to  an}'  person  intending  to  sell  the  same  to  savages. 

"5th.  And  to  prevent  strangers  or  others  not  immediately  bound  by  this 
agreement  from  reaping  advantages  to  the  detriment  of  the  subscribers  or  con- 
vej-ing  rum  or  spiritous  liquors  among  the  savages,  in  order  there  to  sell  the  same, 
we  do  hereby  agree  that  should  it  so  happen  that  any  person  or  persons  shall 
sell  rum  to  trade  among  the  savages,  that  we  will  send  immediately  to  the  place 
sufficient  cargo  on  om'  joint  account  that  the  concerned  in  this  agreement  may 
reap  equal  benefit  with  those  who  may  not  join  them  in  their  good  intention  of 
confining  the  trade  of  rum  to  the  fort. 

"That  James  Sterling,  James  Abbott,  Alexander  Macomb,  and  John  Porteous 
be  herebj'  constituted  and  appointed  a  committee  to  regulate  and  transact  all 
affairs  for  the  mutual  concerns  of  the  subscribers,  having  hereby  full  authority 
to  act  as  such  and  to  assemble  and  advise  with  all  the  members  upon  receiving 
notice  of  any  material  regarding  the  concerned,  who  shall  likewise  regulate  the 
accounts,  sales,  transactions  and  rotation  of  serving  or  attending  the  general  store. 

"We  also  hereby  bind  ourselves  and  our  heirs  and  executors  severallj'  to  the 
whole  subscribers  in  the  penal  sum  of  three  hundred  pounds  lawful  money  of 
the  province  of  New  York,  which  penal  sum  of  three  hundred  pounds  aforesaid 
we  bind  and  oblige  ourselves,  our  heirs  and  executors,  to  pay  or  cause  to  be 
paid  to  the  said  subscribers  for  every  offence  or  break  of  the  aforesaid  or  subse- 
quent articles,  and  for  the  better  and  more  steady  execution  of  this  article  we 
likewise  bind  and  oblige  ourselves  to  have  all  differences  that  may  arise  decided 
by  the  award  of  four  indifferent  arbitrators  mutually  chosen,  who,  upon  their 
disagreeing,  are  hereby  empowered  to  choose  a  fifth  person  as  an  umpire,  whose 
award  we  oblige  ourselves  to  abide  by.  We  also  hereby  give  and  grant  full 
power  and  authority  to  the  committee  immediately  to  seize  or  distrain  the 
property  of  offenders  in  execution  of  the  said  award  that  no  unnecessary  delays 
may  be  caused  thereby,  hereby  warranting  and  defending  them  for  such  pro- 
ceedings against  our  heirs  and  a.ssigns  for  any  consequences  therefrom  arising. 
We  further  agree  that  the  above  articles  shall  be  equally  binding  in  every  respect  ■ 
as  if  drawn  up  agreeable  to  all  forms  of  law  necessary  in  such  cases. 

"We  further  agree  that  the  above  mentioned  articles  and  obligations  shall 
take  place  and  commence  from  and  after  the  first  day  of  May  next  ensuing 
the  date  hereof  and  shall  continue  of  full  force  so  long  as  may  be  thought  proper 
to  be  kept  up  by  the  majority  of  the  subscribers,  not  to  exceed  the  term  of  two 
years  from  the  commencement  hereof  unless  mutually  agreed  upon.  We  also 
hereby  oblige  ourselves  to  give  every  information  we  can  possibly  procure  at 
all  times  to  the  committee  of  every  occurrence  respecting  the  general  concern. 

"In  witness  whereof  we  have  hereunto  set  our  hands  and  seals  at  Detroit 
this  fourteenth  daj'  of  April  in  the  fourteenth  year  of  the  reign  of  our  sovereign 
Lord  George  the  third  of  Great  Britain,  France  and  Ireland,  king  etc.  etc.  in 
the  year  of  our  Lord  one  thousand  seven  hundred  and  seventy-four. 

"Booty  Graves. 
"Signed  and  sealed  in  presence  of  "Wm.  Forsyth, 


"McWilliams  &  Co., 
"Collin  Andrews, 
:  "John  Porteous,  for  self  &  Co. 

"Gregor  McGregor, 
"Jas.  Sterling, 
"Simon  McTavish, 
"A.  Macomb, 
"Jas.  Thompson, 
"Abbott  &  Finchly, 
"Robinson  &  Martin, 
"William  Edgar, 
"James  Rankin, 
"Gerrit  Graverat, 
"F.  Visgar, 
"Geo.  McBeath, 
"Jos.  Cochran, 
"Norman  McLeod, 
"Wra.  Allen." 
The  agreement,  which  was  understood  to  hold  for  two  years,  was  not  found 
to  be  profitable  and  was  dissolved  in  the  following  year  (June  12,  1775)  when 
the  parties  acknowledged  receipt  of  their  shares  of  the  communitj-  property  and 
divided  it  among  them. 


The  firm  of  Abbott  &  Finchly  carried  on  one  of  the  largest  trading  establish- 
ments in  the  place.  One  of  their  employes  was  a  Frenchman  named  Jean 
Baptiste  Contencineau.  A  negro  slave  belonging  to  James  Abbott  was  named 
Ann  (or  Nancy)  Wyley.  The  Frenchman  and  the  slave  formed  a  plan  to  rob 
the  storehouse  of  the  firm  and  then  to  set  fire  to  it  in  order  to  avoid  detection. 
The  only  property  they  wanted  was  the  content  of  the  box  usually  kept  in  the 
storehouse,  but  the  house  was,  at  the  time,  filled  with  valuable  furs  and  com- 
modities that  entailed  a  great  loss  on  the  firm,  entirely  out  of  proportion  in  value 
to  the  articles  coveted  by  the  thieves.  All  the  testimony  taken  in  the  case  was 
transcribed  by  Dejean  into  the  old  records,  but  it  is  too  voluminous  to  be  repro- 
duced here.  On  June  24,  1774  the  Frenchman,  at  the  request  of  the  woman, 
set  fire  to  the  building  and  carried  away  from  it,  as  the  plunder  he  wanted,  a 
small  box  containing  six  dollars  (piastres)  of  which  four  dollars  were  silver  and 
two  dollars  were  paper.  There  was  some  evidence  that  the  Frenchman  had,  at 
other  times,  stolen  some  beaver  skins  and  some  small  knives  from  his  employers. 
The  prisoners  confessed  their  guilt,  but  each  attempted  to  lay  the  blame  upon 
the  other. 

Some  of  the  subsequent  transactions  connected  with  this  affair  have  not  been 
unearthed,  but  the  result  of  the  case  was  of  far-reaching  and  national  importance. 

At  this  time  Hemy  Hamilton  was  lieutenant-governor  and  Philip  Dejean 
was  the  justice  of  the  peace.  Dejean  had  long  been  considered  the  tool  of 
Hamilton  and  was  willing  in  this,  as  in  other  cases,  to  do  the  bidding  of  the 
governor.  Public  opinion  was  aroused  against  the  Frenchman  and  the  slave  and 
there  was  a  determined  effort  to  get  rid  of  them  from  the  communitj^  but  it 
was  thought  best  to  do  this  with  a  seeming  compliance  with  legal  forms. 

The  prisoners  were  tried  before  Dejean,  the  justice,  possibly  with  a  iurv,  and 

Vol.  1—13 


certainly  with  tiie  approlDation  of  Hamilton.  They  wore  found  guilt.y  and 
Dejean  sentenced  them  to  be  hanged.  Without  unnecessary  delay,  the  day 
of  execution  was  set,  but  public  sentiment  had  so  changed  that  it  was  found 
impossible  to  get  an  executioner.  Hamilton  then  agreed  to  free  the  woman 
from  the  penalty  about  to  be  inflicted  upon  her,  if  she  would  act  as  executioner 
on  the  Frenchman.  Of  course,  she  agreed  and  the  Frenchman  was  accordingly 
swung  off. 

The  execution  of  Contencineau  was  the  final  act  that  drove  the  people  of 
Detroit  to  a  lebcllion  against  the  illegal  acts  of  the  justice,  for  no  matter  how 
much  the  people  thought  the  Frenchman  should  be  punished,  they  wanted  it 
done  in  a  legal  manner. 


In  1778  a  grand  jury  was  called  at  Montreal  and  the  facts  of  this  and  other 
cases  were  laid  before  the  jury.  Both  Hamilton  and  Dejean  were  indicted  for 
the  murder  of  the  Frenchman.  The  jury  was  composed  largely  of  ]\Iontreal 
citizens,  but  there  are  a  few  Detroit  names  in  the  list,  such  as  Richard  Pollard, 
J.  Grant  and  Ahdemar.  The  foreman  was  James  McGill,  a  man  closely  allied 
with  Detroit  in  business  affairs  and  the  founder  of  McGill  University.  The 
witnesses  were,  some  of  them,  Detroit  people,  as  William  Macomli,  George 
McBeath  and  Jonas  Schindler. 

The  indictment  of  Dejean  was  a  voluminous  affair,  covering  nine  closely 
written  pages.  It  charged  him  with  illegally  and  under  color  of  legal  authority 
and  the  administration  of  justice,  in  December,  1775,  trying  a  man  named  Filers, 
who  was  accused  of  murdering  Charles  Morin.  When  Filers  was  found  guilty 
of  the  charge,  Dejean  passed  sentence  of  death  upon  him.  Filers  was  executed 
for  this  crime  at  Detroit  in  December,  1775.  Then,  in  February,  1776,  came 
the  Contencineau  case  described  above,  for  which  Dejean  was  indicted  for 
criminal  misuse  of  his  authority. 

In  June,  1776,  Jonas  Schindler,  a  silversmith,  was  illegally  imprisoned  at 
the  instance  of  Dejean,  and  tried  for  issuing  base  metal  as  pure  silver.  He  was 
acquitted,  but  he  was  nevertheless  kept  in  prison  by  Dejean  for  some  time  and 
then  led  through  the  garrison  of  Detroit  as  a  felon  and  as  some  heinous  offender, 
attended  with  a  drum  and  guard  and  drummed  out  of  the  garrison  for  some 
supposed  crime,  to-wit,  that  he  had  used  the  trade  of  silversmith  without  having 
served  an  apprenticeship  thereto. 

In  August,  1777,  Dejean  rendered  judgment  and  issued  execution  against 
Louis  Prejean  in  the  sum  of  ten  pounds  sterling.  In  February  or  ]\Iarch  of  the 
same  year  Dejean  seized  the  goods  of  one  Elliot  under  color  of  justice  and  sold 
the  same.  In  the  winter  of  1777  Dejean  fined  Montague  Tremble  ten  pounds 
for  misdemeanors  committed  by  Tremble's  servants. 

The  above  are  the  specifications  in  the  indictment  of  Dejean,  and  the  grand 
jury  found  in  them  "the  great  unfitness  and  inaliility  as  well  as  the  illegal,  unjust 
and  oppressive  conduct  of  the  said  Philip  Dejean,  acting  as  a  magistrate  and 
judge  of  criminal  offenses  at  Detroit,  is  matter  of  great  moment  and  concern, 
as  well  to  his  majesty's  liege  sulijects  as  to  the  just  and  due  administration  of 
the  laws  and  government." 

At  the  same  time  the  grand  jury  presented  a  true  bill  against  Henry  Hamil- 
ton, lieutanant-governor  of  Detroit,  for  aiding  Dejean  in  his  illegal  acts  and 


suffering  and  permitting  them  to  be  carried  out.     Warrants  were  directed  to  be 
issued  for  the  apprehension  of  both  Hamilton  and  Dejean. 


The  date  of  these  findings  of  the  grand  jury,  September  8,  1778,  was  at 
the  most  trying  time  of  the  Revolutionary  War.  Rumors  of  an  attempt  on  the 
part  of  the  colonial  troops  to  take  Detroit  were  constantly  heard  in  the  British 
camps  and  in  the  garrison  at  Detroit.  Gen.  George  Rogers  Clark,  with  a  few 
soldiers,  had  taken  Vincennes,  then  an  important  place  in  the  Indian  country, 
and  had  passed  on  westward  to  take  Kaskaskia.  If  he  could  retain  these  places 
as  a  base  he  could  proceed  to  Detroit  with  his  army  and  capture  that  place  also. 

Governor  Hamilton  was  a  civil  officer  and  ought  not  to  have  undertaken 
anything  in  the  military  line  further  than  protecting  Detroit.  He  learned  of 
the  actions  of  the  grand  jury  and  was  afraid  that  a  warrant  was  out  for  his 
arrest.  He  hoped  to  do  something  to  win  the  favor  of  the  British  government 
in  order  to  escape  punishment  for  his  crime.  Utterly  without  authority  and 
even  against  the  expressed  wishes  of  Governor  Haldimand,  he  gathered  all  the 
provisions  and  soldiers  that  he  could  at  Detroit  and  set  off  for  the  Indian  coun- 
try, not  notifying  Haldimand  of  his  plans  until  he  had  started  and  it  was  too  late 
to  recall  him.  In  a  few  days  he  reached  and  took  Vincennes  which  was  pro- 
tected by  only  one  officer,  Capt.  Moses  Henry,  and  one  soldier. 

Those  who  wish  to  read  the  circumstances  of  the  return  of  General  Clark 
and  the  recapture  of  Vincennes  and  of  General  Hamilton,  the  "hair-buyer 
general,"  and  of  Dejean,  will  find  a  full  account  in  Maurice  Thompson's  "Alice 
of  Old  Vincennes." 

The  consequences  of  this  capture  were  that  Michigan,  Ohio,  Indiana,  Illinois 
and  Wisconsin  became  a  part  of  the  new  United  States  in  the  treaty  of  1783, 
claimed  by  the  old  colonies  by  right  of  conquest  in  the  capture  of  Hamilton. 

Thus  it  seems  that  to  the  blood  of  Jean  Contencineau  we  owe,  in  part  at  least, 
the  fact  that  we  are  citizens  of  Michigan  in  the  great  sisterhood  of  states. 

The  privy  council  of  Great  Britain  directed  that  neither  Hamilton  nor  Dejean 
be  punished,  because  in  the  tumult  of  war  no  trial  could  be  had  where  all  the 
witnesses  could  be  summoned.  Hamilton  and  Dejean  remained  a  long  time 
in  prison  at  Williamsburg,  Virginia.  The  former,  on  his  exchange,  returned  to 
England,  but  subsequently  came  back  to  Canada  and  later  became  governor 
of  the  Bermudas,  where  the  city  of  Hamilton  was  founded  and,  it  is  sometimes 
said,  named  in  his  honor.  This  statement  is  probably  erroneous,  as  the  entire 
island  was  originally  granted  to  the  Hamilton  family,  more  than  one  hundred 
years  before  Henr_v  Hamilton  visited  it,  and  it  is  likely  that  this  ancient  owner- 
ship led  to  the  naming  of  the  city. 

Dejean  took  the  oath  of  neutrality  and  was  permitted  to  return  to  Detroit, 
but  he  never  afterward  officiated  as  justice  there. 

In  order  to  make  a  connected  story  of  the  indictments  against  Hamilton  and 
Dejean,  we  have  passed  over  a  considerable  time,  for  it  was  not  until  October  7, 
1778,  that  Hamilton  left  Detroit,  and  it  was  some  days  later  that  Dejean  followed 


At  the  outbreak  of  the  Revolution  there  were  many  of  the  royalists  who 
hastened  from  the  east  and  south  to  take  up  their  residence  in  Detroit,  in  order 


to  be  under  the  protection  of  the  Enghsh  soldiers.  There  were  also  many 
others  who  came  here  to  avoid  the  war,  but  who  were  secretly  in  favor  of  the 
new  government.  A  strict  watch  had  to  be  maintained  to  prevent  the  Vir- 
ginians, as  the  colonial  forces  in  the  west  were  called,  from  becoming  established 
amidst  the  citizenry  of  Detroit.  Charles  Moran,  a  citizen  of  Detroit  and  the 
father  of  the  late  Judge  Charles  Moran,  was  a  captain  in  the  local  militia  and  one 
of  the  military  orders  given  to  him  by  Governor  Hamilton,  and  now  in  the 
possession  of  the  family  of  Mr.  John  V.  Moran,  directs  that  all  strangers  who 
arrive  in  the  place  must  immediately  report  their  place  of  residence  to  the  cap- 
tain of  militia,  and  the  latter  must  report  the  fact  to  the  governor  within  twelve 
hours.  Every  stranger  and  every  suspected  citizen  was  watched  and  his  actions 
and  sayings  were  reported  to  the  governor.  If  the  suspicions  seemed  to  be 
well-founded,  the  suspect  was  brought  before  Hamilton  and  he  was  put  under 
bonds  to  behave  himself  as  a  British  citizen. 

It  was  no  uncommon  circumstance  that  persons  were  unjustly  suspected. 
On  the  29th  day  of  December,  1775,  Garrett  Graverat  was  brought  before  Hamil- 
ton and  compelled  to  enter  into  a  bond  in  the  sum  of  four  hundred  pounds  sterling, 
conditioned  that  he  would  not  correspond  with,  carry  intelligence  to,  or  supply 
any  of  his  majesty's  enemies,  nor  do  anything  detrimental  to  this  settlement 
in  particular,  or  against  any  of  his  majesty's  good  subjects,  for  one  year  and 
one  day.  The  sureties  on  the  bond  were  William  Edgar,  George  McBeath, 
James  Rankin,  and  Simon  McTavish.  No  list  of  better  names  could  be  selected 
from  the  business  directory  of  Detroit  of  that  daj\  It  seems  very  probable 
that  Graverat  was  entirely  misjudged  at  that  time,  for  he  remained  a  British 
subject  at  Detroit  so  long  as  it  was  under  British  control.  Philip  Boyle  was 
compelled  to  give  a  similar  bond  on  March  6,  1777. 


John  Simon  bound  himself  to  work  for  Obediah  Robins  for  one  year  from 
October  31,  1776,  for  twenty-four  pounds.  New  York  currency  (about  sixty 
dollars).  Simon  was  to  work  as  a  hired  man,  and  was  to  behave  himself  and 
was  honestly  to  obey  every  lawful  command,  and  was  to  go  with  said  Obediah 
Robins  wherever  he  should  direct  him,  or  wherever  his  business  required. 

An  entry  dated  October  27,  1772,  is  recorded  on  the  26th  of  the  following 
July,  whereby  Israel  Ruland  (it  is  spelled  Rouland  in  this  place)  bound  himself 
to  Garret  Graverat  until  Ruland  became  of  age.  Ruland  was  born  on  Long 
Island  and  was  to  be  sixteen  years  of  age  on  the  2d  of  the  following  May.  He 
agreed  to  serve  Graverat  until  he  became  of  age,  and  was  then  to  receive  forty 
pounds,  New  York  currency,  and  one  suit  of  clothes  "fit  for  a  servant  of  his 


Slavery  existed  at  Detroit  even  later  than  the  year  1800,  but  it  existed  legally 
only  until  the  surrender  of  the  post  in  1796.  There  were  two  kinds  of  slaves, 
negro  and  panis.  The  latter  were  Indians  originally  captured  by  Indian  tribes 
in  their  wars,  the  captives  being  reduced  to  servitude.  There  exists  a  bill  of  sale 
or  deed,  of  two  slaves,  male  and  female,  for  two  thousand  livres,  equal  to  one 
hundred  twenty-three  pounds,  six  shillings  and  eight  pence.  New  York  currency. 
The  sale  was  made  in  1777  by  Charles  Langlade,  interpreter  for  the  king,  to 
Pierre  Lalieille.  Langlade  will  be  remembered  as  one  of  the  Canadians  who  took 
an  active  part  in  protecting  the  English  soldiers  at  Mackinac  in  1768. 



Arbitrators  could  be  resorted  to  in  order  to  settle  pending  differences,  without 
the  aid  of  the  justice.  Such  a  case  occurred  in  1777,  between  James  Cassety,  a 
farmer,  and  Edward  Abbott,  lieutenant-governor  of  Post  Vincennes.  Cassety 
was  a  well-known  character  in  later  years,  but  at  this  time  he  had  but  recently 
come  to  Detroit  and  settled  upon  a  farm  at  Grosse  Pointe.  He  was  the  owner 
of  a  lot  in  the  village,  which  he  sold  to  Abbott. 

Upon  examining  the  title  to  this  lot,  Abbott  ascertained  Cassety  had  pur- 
chased it  from  John  Witherhead  and  Henry  Van  Schaak  and  had  received 
warranty  deeds,  but  that  Mrs.  Bainbouts  claimed  a  dower  interest  in  the  lot. 
Thomas  Williams,  James  Sterling,  Gregor  McGregor  and  D.  Baby  were  chosen 
arbitrators,  without  the  approval  of  Dejean.  The  arbitrators  decided  that 
Abbott  should  retain  thirty  pounds  in  his  hand  until  the  title  to  the  land  was 

This  is  the  first  claim  for  dower  in  real  estate  in  the  post  and  search  of  the 
records  discloses  very  few  instances  in  which  the  wife  joined  in  the  conveyance 
of  lands  by  the  husband.  This  is  not  the  first  time  mention  is  made  of  Thomas 
Williams.  Mr.  Williams  was  a  citizen  of  Albany,  N.  Y.,  whose  feelings  led  him 
to  seek  Detroit  as  a  home  during  the  war,  either  because  he  sided  with  the 
British  or  because  he  wished  to  avoid  participation  in  the  conflict.  He  remained 
at  Detroit  many  years  and  became  a  prominent  citizen.  His  property  at 
Albany  was  confiscated  by  the  state  of  New  York,  but  was  finally  restored  to 
him  or  his  family.  He  married  Cecelia,  a  sister  of  Joseph  Canipau,  the  first 
millionaire  of  Michigan.  He  had  three  children.  The  only  son,  the  one  of 
the  children  best  known  to  citizens  of  Detroit,  was  John  R.  Williams,  who  in 
1824  became  the  first  elected  mayor  of  the  city.  Gregor  McGregor  was  also 
a  prominent  citizen  and  was  appointed  sheriff  towards  the  end  of  the  British  rule. 


In  1778  a  question  was  raised  regarding  the  title  to  one  of  the  parcels  of 
land  within  the  fortifications  and  in  the  course  of  the  investigations  the  history 
of  the  lot  was  gone  into  quite  fully.  It  appeared  that  one  lot  on  St.  Jacques 
Street,  thirty  feet  front  by  sixty-five  feet  deep,  bounded  on  one  side  by  Laurent 
Parent  and  on  the  other  by  St.  Germain  Street,  and  in  the  rear  by  St.  Joseph 
Street,  was  sold  by  Nicolas  LaSalle,  representing  Jacques  LaSalle,  Jr.,  October 
20,  1754,  to  Nicolas  Vernet  dit  Bourguignon,  and  that  another  parcel  on  Ste. 
Anne  Street,  thirty  feet  front  by  fifty-four  deep,  bounded  on  the  northeast  side 
by  the  guardhouse,  and  on  the  west  by  a  new  street  called  St.  Germain  Street, 
and  extending  to  St.  Jacques  Street,  was  sold  by  Mr.  Dequindre  to  said  Vernet 
on  the  same  day.  On  each  of  said  lots  were  buildings  erected — log  houses 
built  "log  on  log" — as  the  deed  describes  them.  From  the  earliest  founding 
of  the  village  the  log  houses  were  built  of  logs  set  on  end  in  the  ground,  placed 
closely  together,  and  the  interstices  filled  with  mud  or  clay.  The  newer  build- 
ings were  built  of  logs  placed  upon  each  other  lengthwise,  as  in  the  pioneer 
log  houses  of  a  later  day. 

It  became  appropriate  for  the  conveyancer,  Navarre,  to  indicate  that  class 
of  building  as  "une  maison  de  piece  sur  piece." 

The  two  parcels  were  sold  by  Vernet,  October  19,  1760,  to  Francois  Picote 
de  Belestre  for  thirty  thousand  livres.     Belestre  was  the  last   French   com- 


mandant  and  upon  the  surrender  of  Detroit  to  Maj.  Robert  Rogers  in  I7G0,  he 
was  hurried  off  to  Presque  isle  with  the  French  soldiers  as  a  prisoner  of  war,  and 
the  property  he  left  was  taken  possession  of  by  the  British. 

When  the  title  of  these  parcels  of  land  was  questioned  in  1767,  the  then 
commandant,  Capt.  George  Turnbull,  appointed  a  court  of  inquiry  to  examine 
the  title.  The  members  of  the  court  were:  Lieut.  Daniel  McAlpine,  of  the 
Sixty-eighth  regiment  (president)  and  Lieut.  John  Christy  of  the  Sixtieth 
regiment,  and  John  Amiel,  ensign  in  the  Sixtieth  regiment  (member).  Belestre 
claimed  to  own  the  property  under  the  deed  to  him,  and  the  commandant 
claimed  that  Belestre  took  the  conveyance  for  the  benefit  of  his  government, 
and  that  with  the  fall  of  New  France  all  government  property  passed  to  the 
British.  Belestre  testified  that  he  l>ought  both  parcels  of  land  for  himself  and 
that  he  paid  taxes  on  them,  and  the  king's  dues,  amounting  to  six  hundred 
and  sixty-six  livres,  six  soldats,  on  the  purchase  of  the  property.  One  of  these 
lots  was  taken  by  the  soldiers  and  sold;  the  other  lot  had  been  in  possession  of 
his  Britannic  majesty  for  sojne  years.  The  court  was  apparently  prejudiced 
in  favor  of  the  king,  and  it  is  small  wonder  that  Belestre,  the  poor  Frenchman, 
got  little  satisfaction  out  of  his  suit. 


An  entry  dated  May  6,  1778,  signed  by  Henry  Hamilton,  lieutenant-governor 
and  superintendent,  reads,  translated,  as  follows: 

"On  the  representations  which  have  been  made  by  the  mulatto  woman,  who 
belonged  to  the  late  Louis  Verrat,  and  on  the  verbal  depositions  of  difTerent 
persons  concerning  the  liberty  of  the  said  mulatto  woman,  I  have  judged  proper 
to  stop  the  sale  of  the  woman,  and  have  directed  that  she  be  sent  back  to  Kas- 
kaskia,  in  the  Illinois  country,  consigned  to  Mr.  Rochblave,  commandant  for 
the  king  at  that  place,  for  further  information." 

This  was,  apparently,  either  a  case  of  abduction  of  a  slave  and  an  attempt 
to  sell  her  at  Detroit  or  the  return  of  a  fugitive  slave.  It  is  the  first  recorded 
instance  of  a  fugitive  from  slavery,  to  be  followed  by  the  thousands  of  others, 
increasing  each  year  in  nvunber  until  the  civil  war  ended  the  slaverj'  curse. 


The  records  show  that  the  hilarious  individuals  who  make  the  night  ]iid(H)us 
with  their  "warhoops"  were  not  unknown  to  Detroit  in  1778.  Jean  Bte.  Mont- 
reuil  and  Joseph  Cerre  dit  St.  Jean  were  arrested,  tried  and  convicted  of  "breaking 
the  peace  of  our  sovereign  lord,  by  disturbing,  in  the  night,  the  repose  and 
tranquillity  of  the  public,"  and  they  were  put  under  bonds  of  one  hundred 
pounds  each  for  their  good  behavior  for  a  year  and  a  day.  Pierre  Desnoyers 
became  the  bondsman  for  Montreuil  and  Joseph  Pouget  was  surety  for  Cerre. 
(Continued  in  the  next  chapter) 



By  Clarence  M.  Burton 














In  an  old  letter-book  which  was  kept  at  Mackinac  during  the  Revolutionary 
war  are  several  interesting  items.  An  extract  from  one  of  these  letters,  which 
is  dated  June  4,  1778,  and  written  by  John  Askin  to  John  (Jehu)  Hay,  who 
was  the  last  British  governor  of  Detroit,  will  b^  given.  n  reading  the  letter 
one  may  see  how  uncertain  and  unreliable  the  news  was  which  proceeded  from 
the  seat  of  war  at  that  time.  The  news  received  would  equal  some  of  the  tele- 
graph items  of  today.  Another  matter  of  interest  in  the  letter  is  that  news  of 
all  kinds  from  the  East  reached  Mackinac  before  it  did  Detroit.  The  letter 
is  as  follows: 

"The  two  vessels,  the  first  canoes  from  Montreal  and  the  Ottawa  Indians 
going  to  war,  all  arrived  yesterdaj',  the  latter  is  now  dancing  at  my  door,  my 
things  coming  on  shore  in  the  greatest  confusion  and  the  Angelica  preparing 
to  sail. 

"All  this  shall  not  deprive  me  of  the  writing  you  a  ew  lines  in  answer  to 
your  obliging  letter  by  Robertson.  The  news  is  that  General  Clinton,  below 
Albany,  fought  and  beat  General  Gates,  in  which  7,000  of  the  enemy  and  their 
general  fell. 

"Before  this  reaches  you  perhaps  you'll  have  the  account,  more  full}'  by 



Niagara,  great  numbers  of  canoes  are  on  their  way  here  from  Montreal.    Lieut- 
enant Bennett  left  this  a  few  days  ago  for  the  grand  portage." 

dejean's  successor 

When  Dejean  left  Detroit  to  follow  Governor  Hamilton  to  Vincennes, 
and  subsequently  to  Williamsburg  as  a  prisoner,  Detroit  was  left  without  a 
justic  or  record-keeper.  Thomas  Williams  was  given  a  qualified  appoint- 
ment as  notary  and  justice  by  the  military  commandant,  Capt.  Richard  B. 
Lernoult,  and  it  was  expected  that  a  proper  appointment  would  be  granted 
to  Williams  as  soon  as  possible. 

Lernoult  was  succeeded  by  Maj.  Arent  Schuyler  De  Peyster  and  it  was 
to  the  major  that  Williams'  commission  was  sent  in  the  fall  of  1779.  All  the 
records  in  the  interval  were  kept  by  Williams,  so  that  he  may  be  considered 
as  the  immediate  successor  to  Dejean. 

Almost  the  last  act  of  Hamilton  before  he  left  Detroit  was  to  forward  to 
Lieutenant-Governor  Cramahe  such  legal  papers  as  he  had  in  his  possession, 
to  be  delivered  to  the  proper  officers.  These  papers  consisted  of  the  following 
items : 

1.  Depositions  taken  at  Mackinac  before  Major  De  Peyster. 

2.  Depositions  taken  in  Detroit  before  Dejean  and  twenty-four  jurors. 
3-4.     Deposition  in  favor  of  Nicholas  Thibault,  of  Detroit,  who  was  charged 

with  murdering  a  Panis.     The  witness  was  Jean  Baptiste  Dumet  or  Dumay. 

5.  Examination  of  Michael  O'Neil,  a  volunteer  in  LaMothe's  company. 
The  witnesses  were  Pierre  LeMay  and  Patrick  McKinley,  of  the  same  com- 

The  governor  adds  to  his  report  that  the  law  proceedings  here  were  vague, 
and  perhaps  as  irregular  as  can  be,  l)ut  the  situation  must  excuse  and  account 
for  it. 

The  troul)les  that  had  overtaken  Hamilton  and  Dejean  by  reason  of  their 
illegal  actions  specified  in  the  findings  of  the  jury  led  Major  De  Peyster  and 
Thomas  Williams  to  exercise  more  caution  in  the  village  affairs.  De  Peyster 
wrote  to  Haldimand  that  he  had  lately  heard  that  justices  of  the  peace  had  no 
power  to  meddle  in  money  matters,  though  it  had  been  understood  formerly 
that  they  could  try  causes  where  the  amount  involved  was  less  than  ten  pounds. 

"Now,  if  some  power  and  for  a  granted  sum,  too,"  he  writes,  "is  not  given, 
this  place  will  go  into  confusion,  as  it  will  hardly  do  to  summon  people  to  ap- 
pear at  Montreal  for  such  trifling  affairs,  and  if  tlioy  are  not  there  will  be  no 
recovering  small  debts." 

The  laws,  however,  were  not  changed,  and  Detroit  was  left  without  power 
to  protect  its  citizens  against  dishonest  deljtors. 


It  was  at  this  time,  commencing  about  1780,  that  the  land  fever  struck 
Detroit.  There  had  been  for  some  time  an  earnest  desire  to  have  the  war  ended, 
and  nearly  everyone  felt  that  it  could  be  terminated  only  with  the  acknowl- 
edgement of  the  independence  of  the  United  States.  There  was  also  a  feeling 
that  a  large  part  of  Canada,  certainly  all  that  portion  lying  south  of  the  Great 
Lakes,  would  become  part  of  the  new  government.  This  feeling  was  shared 
in  alike  by  the  military  officers  and  by  the  civilians.  If  the  new  government 
was  to  have  control  soon,  each  one  felt  that  he  would  like  to  be  possessed  of  some 


fertile  farm  lands  about  the  post  before  the  change  of  government  took  place. 
The  British  government  had  never  favored  buying  lands  from  the  Indians, 
but  the  people — speculators,  traders,  everyone,  in  fact — now  set  about  buying 
large  tracts  from  the  Indian  tribes.  It  became  the  duty  of  Williams,  as  reg- 
ister, to  accept  and  record  these  Indian  conveyances  and  there  are  hundreds 
of  them  in  these  records. 

The  consideration  generally  expressed  is  the  love  borne  by  the  Indian  chief 
to  his  white  friend,  to  whom  the  deed  was  made,  but  the  real  consideration  was 
a  little  money,  some  trinkets,  vermillion,  powder,  lead  and  a  good  deal  of  rum. 
If  all  other  inducements  failed,  a  liberal  quantity  of  rum  would  serve  to  supply 
the  deficiency. 

All  the  farm  lands  up  and  down  the  river  and  on  both  sides,  which  were  not 
already  occupied  by  the  whites,  were  sold  by  Indians  and  some  parcels 
were  sold  several  times  over. 

Major  De  Peyster  purchased  a  large  tract  in  what  is  now  St.  Clair  County, 
and  the  two  Schiefflins  bought  the  entire  parcel  upon  which  Amherstburg  is 
located,  as  well  as  many  square  miles  of  land  around  it.  De  Pej^ster's  grant 
was  never  accepted  as  valid  by  the  government,  and  the  deed  to  the  Schiefflins 
was  set  aside  by  the  British  government  as  having  been  obtained  by  fraud. 
De  Peyster  left  Canada  after  the  war  and  went  to  live  in  Scotland,  the  home 
of  his  wife.  He  died  at  Dumfries,  Scotland,  November  26,  1822.  The  Schief- 
flins, Jonathan  and  Jacob,  moved  to  New  York,  and  some  of  the  family  went 
into  the  drug  trade,  becoming  very  wealthy.  Their  descendants  still  live  in 
New  York  City,  and  are  considered  of  the  aristocracy.  Some  of  them  have 
tried  to  forget  their  Detroit  ancestors,  while  others  of  the  family  are  "every 
day"  sort  of  people  and  are  generally  liked. 

William  Forsyth,  the  step-father  of  John  Kinzie  of  Chicago,  obtained  a 
deed  to  2,000  acres  on  the  St.  Clair  River  September  20,  1780. 


To  show  how  thoroughly  the  country  here  was  under  the  control  of  the 
military  officers,  the  following  is  the  substance  of  a  petition  of  inhabitants 
living  at  Petite  Cote,  on  the  south  side  of  the  river. 

The  petition  is  dated  July  1,  1780,  and  sets  forth  that,  for  the  public  good, 
it  will  be  necessary  to  have  a  water  mill  built  at  that  place  to  grind  the  grain 
of  the  locality.  They  ask  that  Simon  Drouillard  be  granted  permission  to  build 
a  stone  mill  on  the  public  domain.  The  petition  is  signed  by  John  Bondy, 
J.  Pouget,  Charles  Reaumc,  Rene  Cloutier,  Theophile  LeMay,  Joseph  Belle- 
perche,  Antoine  Lafontaine,  Baptiste  Dufor,  Antoine  Cloutier,  Jean  Baptiste 
LeBeau,  Pierre  Meloch,  Pierre  Pranez,  J.  B.  Drouillard,  J.  B.  Petre,  George 
Knaggs,  Charles  Renot,  Charles  Fontaine,  J.  B.  Bonparre,  J.  B.  Faignant, 
August  Peuparre,  Francois  Lesperance,  Francois  Proux,  and  Louis  Rebeau. 
Upon  filing  the  above  petition,  the  commandant,  De  Peyster,  granted  license 
to  Simon  Drouillard  to  build  a  water  mill  on  la  riviere  aux  Dindes  (Turkey 


The  following  entry  in  Volume  C,  on  page  99,  explains  itself: 

"I  hereby  certify  to  have  joined  Thomas  Williams,  Esq.,  of  Detroit,  and 


Miss  Cecelia  Campcau,  daughter  of  Mr.  Jacques  Campeau,  of  Detroit,  in  the 
holy  bonds  of  Matrimony,  conformable  to  the  rule  of  the  Church  of  England. 

"Given  under  my  hand  at  Detroit,  this  seventh  day  of  May,  in  the  year 
of  our  Lord  one  thousand  seven  hundred  and  eighty-one. 

"A.  S.  De  Peyster, 

"Major  King's  Regt. 

Commanding  Detroit  and  Its  Dependencies. 

"Alex  Grant, 

"D.  Mercier,  Lt.  King's  Rgt." 

The  peculiarity  of  this  marriage  certificate  is  that  the  ceremony  was  per- 
formed by  the  military  commandant.  There  was  no  minister  or  chaplain  in  the 
garrison.  Perhaps  the  justice  of  the  peace  was  authorized  to  perform  the  mar- 
riage ceremony,  for  there  are  several  signed  by  Dejean.  Whenever  persons 
did  not  wish  to  go  before  the  Catholic  priest,  they  went  before  the  commandant, 
and  he  generally  officiated.  Possibly  a  full  record  of  the  marriages  performed 
by  him  may  sometime  be  found,  but  all  search  for  such  a  list  in  every  place 
where  public  records  of  that  date  are  to  be  found  has  so  far  been  in  vain.  We 
know  that  many  marriages  took  place  at  this  time,  but  there  are  no  records  to 
prove  them.  This  one  was  preserved  only  because  the  husband,  Thomas  Wil- 
liams, was  the  keeper  of  the  records  and  so  recorded  his  own  marriage  cer- 

The  village  priest  desired  to  keep  all  of  his  people  within  the  church,  but 
he  was  not  always  able  to  do  so.  The  church  records  were  carefully  kept,  and 
whenever  we  know  of  a  marriage  that  is  not  of  record  in  Ste.  Anne's  or  in  the 
Church  of  the  Assumption,  we  conclude  that  the  commandant  or  the  justice 
performed  it.  We  know  that  James  Sterling  and  Angelique  Cuillerier  were 
married,  but  there  is  no  record  extant  in  either  of  the  above  churches.  When- 
ever there  was  doubt  in  the  mind  of  the  priest.  Father  Simplicus  Bouquet,  as 
to  the  propriety  of  a  proposed  marriage,  he  refused  to  perform  it.  Then  the 
bride  and  groom  had  to  go  to  the  commandant  or  wait  until  the  obstacles  were 
removed.  In  1775  Francois  Gouin  wished  to  marry  Angelique  Godet,  but  the 
priest  objected  because  of  the  youth  of  the  young  lady,  and  also  because  her 
grandmother  did  not  want  the  marriage  to  take  place.  The  uncle  and  aunt 
of  the  bride  appealed  to  Capt.  Richard  Beranger  Lernoult,  the  commandant, 
and  by  his  order  the  priest  performed  the  ceremony,  but  he  added  to  the  rec- 
ord a  note  that  if  he  has  deferred  to  the  decision  of  the  commandant,  it  was 
because  he  feared  the  couple  would  be  married  in  English  fashion,  and  the 
scandal   thus  occasioned  would  be  followed  by  other  luinatural   children. 

CENSUS   OF    1782 

In  1782  Williams  was  employed  by  De  Peyster  to  take  the  census  of  De- 
troit and  its  surroundings.  Such  a  census  had  been  taken  by  Dejean  in  1773, 
and  the  two,  for  comparison,  give  the  population  as  follows: 

1773         1782 

Men  298  321 

Women         225  254 

Young  :\Ien     84  336 

Boys  284  526 

Girls 240  503 


Young  Women               58 1  _„ 

Servants       93  J 

Male  Slaves       46  78 

Female  Slaves     39  101 

Total  1,367        2,191 

This  is  exclusive  of  the  garrison  and  Indian=.  The  increase  was  due  largely 
to  the  influx  of  persons  desiring  to  avoid  the  war.  Governor  Hamilton  had 
constantlj'  urged  the  loyalists  to  flee  from  the  states  and  come  to  Detroit,  or 
to  locate  in  some  place  where  they  could  be  protected  b}^  British  soldiers.  Ham- 
ilton had  won  for  himself  the  title  of  the  "hairbuyer  general"  from  his  offer 
of  reward  for  scalps  of  the  white  people  in  the  Ohio  country,  but  if  he  wanted 
scalps  of  the  "rebels,"  he  was  equally  anxious  for  the  safety  of  all  who  were 
loj'al  to  King  George.  A  proclamation  of  reward  for  scalps  issued  by  him  was 
found  pinned  to  a  man  murdered  and  scalped,  lying  in  the  woods  of  the  Ohio 
district  and  accompanying  the  proclamation  was  a  letter  of  authority  given 
by  him  to  Edward  Hazel,  offering  protection  to  all  who  would  assemble  at 
Detroit,  the  Miamis  (near  Toledo),  Sandusky,  and  Vincennes,  stating  that 
they  should  receive  such  protection  as  the  British  arms  afford  to  refugees. 
These  papers  have  found  their  way  into  the  government  archives. 

The  result  of  these  efforts  was  the  assembling  at  Detroit  of  five  hundred 
or  more  people  who  were  detained  as  refugees  and  prisoners  of  war.  Adding 
this  number  to  the  garrison,  the  total  population  must  have  exceeded  three 
thousand  persons.  Not  all  of  these  people  were  loyal  citizens  and  the  intract- 
able ones  were  sent  down  to  Montreal  for  confinement  for  a  time,  but  the  num- 
bers there  became  so  great  that  Governor  Haldimand  refused  to  receive  more, 
and  those  at  Detroit  were  kept  and  set  to  work  on  the  new  fortifications — 
Fort  Lernoult,  afterwards  Fort  Shelby. 

The  number  of  refugees  at  Detroit  became  so  great  that  Haldimantl  warned 
the  commandant  to  watch  them  carefully  and  imprison  them  if  he  thought 
best.  He  was  afraid  they  might  become  numerous  enough  to  overpower  the 
garrison  and  turn  the  post  over  to  the  Americans. 


The  end  of  the  war  practically  came  in  1782,  though  the  final  treaty  of 
peace  was  not  signed  until  a  year  later.  Detroit  was  included  in  the  new  ter- 
ritory o'  the  United  States  and  Congi-ess  set  about  governing  the  land.  All 
of  the  land  south  of  the  Miami  of  Lake  Erie  soon  came  into  the  actual  posses- 
sion of  the  new  government,  but  the  territory  north  of  that  river  was  con- 
structively part  of  the  United  States  and  really  part  of  Canada,  for  the  British 
troops  still  occupied  and  controlled  it.  All  the  lands  north  of  the  Ohio  River 
formed  what  soon  came  to  be  called  the  "Northwest  Territory,"  and  the  east- 
ern states  soon  (with  the  exception  of  Connecticut)  released  their  claims,  so 
that  it  fell  under  the  direct  control  of  the  federal  government.  Some  acts 
were  passed  by  Congress  before  the  close  of  the  war  for  the  division  of  this  land 
into  states,  but  the  earliest  move  of  general  interest  to  us  was  Jefferson's 
ordinance  of  1784. 

The  ordinance  was  drafted  by  Jefferson,  but  it  was  superseded  by  the  ord- 
inance of  1787,  and  the  earlier  one  had  lost  its  legal  importance.  It  is  rarely 
found  in  printed  form.     A  copy  is  in  the  American  Historical  Leaflets  No.  32. 


The  original  is  in  the  arciiives  at  Washington  and  a  photograph  of  it  is  in  the 
Burton  Historical  Collection.  This  paper  is  very  interesting  to  us  historically, 
as  showing  the  proposed  geographical  divisions  of  Ohio,  Indiana,  Illinois,  Mich- 
igan and  Wisconsin,  comprising  the  Northwest  Territory,  into  ten  states  pro-' 
vided  by  that  ordinance. 

An  atlas  published  by  William  McMurray,  shortly  after  the  date  of  this 
ordinance,  contained  a  map  of  the  new  territory  divided  into  ten  states,  as 
mentioned  in  Jefferson's  draft,  by  the  names  of  Sylvania,  Michigania,  Cher- 
ronesis,  Assenisipta,  Metropotaia,  Illinoia,  Saratoga,  Washington,  Polypo- 
tamia  and  Pelisipia.  There  were  other  maps  of  the  country  engraved  at  that 
time,  the  one  made  by  John  Fitch,  the  inventor  of  the  steamboat,  being  the 
most  unique:  this  was  engraved  by  himself,  printed  in  a  cider  press  and  sold 
for  six  shillings  a  copy,  to  raise  money  to  carry  on  his  steamboat  inventions. 

Had  this  ordinance  remained  in  force,  the  present  address  of  our  citizens 
would  be  the  City  of  Detroit  in  the  State  of  Cherronesis.  The  State  of  Michi- 
gania was  located  on  the  west  side  of  Lake  Michigan.  To  anticipate  for  some 
years  the  history  of  our  peninsula,  when  Congress  was  searching  for  a  name 
for  this  territory  in  1805  it  was  proposed  to  call  this  land  Huron  Territory,  and 
the  present  State  of  Wisconsin  was  to  be  called  Michigan  Territory,  so  that 
on  two  occasions  Wisconsin  has  barely  missed  being  christened  Michigan. 

king's    ownership    of    DETROIT    PROPERTY 

It  is  not  often  that  we  find  the  King  of  England  as  the  purchaser  of  a  piece 
of  property  in  this  country,  but  there  is  a  deed  on  record  conveying  a  house 
and  lot  in  the  village  of  Detroit,  bounded  in  front  by  St.  James  Street,  in  the 
rear  by  St.  Joseph  Street,  sixty-nine  feet  wide,  to  "our  sovereign  lord,  George 
the  Third,  of  Great  Britain,  France  and  Ireland,  king,  defender  of  the  faith, 
etc."  The  house  occupied  by  the  lieutenant-governor  was  located  nearly  on 
the  site  of  the  present  Michigan  Mutual  Life  Insurance  Company  building, 
and  the  lot  above  described  is  nearly  a  block  towards  the  west  and  a  little  to 
the  north.  It  was  probably  intended  to  have  been  used  for  a  jail,  for  there 
was  no  jail  in  Detroit  at  this  time.  Governor  Haldimand  did  not  approve  of 
the  purchase  of  the  property,  and  it  was  returned  to  its  former  proprietors, 
William  and  Alexander  Macomb. 


To  show  to  what  extent  the  military  department  exercised  authority  to  aid 
in  the  collection  of  debts,  there  is  a  statement  made  by  Gerrit  Graverat  which 
is  very  interesting.  Graverat  and  John  Visgar  were  partners  in  trade  under 
the  name  of  Graverat  &  Visgar.  Abraham  C.  Cuyler,  a  trader  from  Albany, 
came  to  Detroit  to  collect  an  old  debt  due  him  from  Graverat  personally. 
Graverat  refused  to  pay  the  old  account,  alleging  that  he  had  no  property 
other  than  that  belonging  to  the  firm  and  that  he  could  not  take  such  prop- 
erty until  the  firm's  creditors  were  first  satisfied.  Cujder  appealed  to  the  mili- 
tary commandant.  Major  De  Peyster,  and  laid  the  matter  before  him.  De 
Peyster  summoned  Graverat  to  his  house.  Upon  his  arrival  "De  Peyster, 
in  the  presence  of  Alexander  Macomb,  William  Edgar  and  John  Askin,  declared, 
and  confirmed  the  same  with  an  oath  of  seeming  resolution,  that  if  Graverat 
did  not  pay  his  account  to  Cuyler  at  once,  that  he  would  send  Graverat  down 
the  country   (to  Montreal)   on  the  vessel  that  was  just  then   ready  to  sail." 


Graverat  was  so  thoroughly  frightened  by  the  threat  that  he  turned  over  all 
the  partnership  property  he  had,  in  order  to  satisfy  Cuyler's  claim.  He  then 
entered  a  protest  to  the  high-handed  proceedings  in  September,  1783. 


The  traveler  along  the  River  St.  Clair  today  would  hardly  believe  that  a 
few  years  ago'  the  borders  of  that  river  were  thicklj^  studded  with  pine  trees, 
but  that  was  the  fact.  Patt  Sinclair,  who  was  lieutenant-governor  of  Mack- 
inac, had  purchased  at  Pine  River,  the  site  of  the  present  city  of  St.  Clair,  a 
laige  tract  of  land  from  the  Indians.  This  purchase  was  connived  by  the  Brit- 
ish officers,  though  contrary  to  orders  of  government.  At  the  end  of  the  Revo- 
lution. Sinclair  went  to  the  island  of  Orleans,  and  from  that  place  gave  directions 
for  the  care  of  his  possessions,  and  from  these  writings,  now  a  matter  of  record, 
one  derives  the  best  information  obtainable  regarding  the  improvements  made 
on  the  river. 

He  directed  Nicolas  Boulvin  to  take  possession  of  his  farm  on  Pine  River, 
which  was  his  property  bj-  Indian  conveyance  made  in  the  presence  of  the 
commanding  officer  of  Fort  Detroit  and  of  his  majesty's  Indian  agent;  also  by 
letter  from  General  Gage,  then  commander-in-chief,  as  well  as  by  the  assent 
of  government  to  his  rights  therein  since  that  time.  Boulvin  was  to  take  charge 
of  the  stock,  houses,  barns,  orchards,  gardens  and  timber  on  said  lands.  No 
person  was  permitted  to  cut  timber  except  for  the  use  of  the  king.  In  later 
times  a  village  called  Palmer,  after  the  father  of  the  late  Sen.  Thomas  W. 
Palmer,  was  located  on  this  land.  The  name  of  the  village  was  subsequently 
changed  to  St.  Clair. 

Sinclair  was  prominent  in  the  affairs  of  the  village  as  early  as  1767  and  in 
that  year  the  citizens  presented  him  with  a  silver  loving-cup,  suitably  inscribed. 
He  afterward  became  lieutenant-governor  of  Mackinac,  and  built  Mackinac 
on  the  island.  On  his  return  to  England,  after  the  Revolution,  he  carried  this 
silver  cup  with  him  and  it  is  now  in  the  possession  of  his  great  granddaughtoi-, 
Miss  H.  H.  Sinclair  Laing. 


The  board  of  health  of  Detroit  was  somewhat  inefficient  or  nearly  power- 
less in  1782,  and  in  order  to  protect  the  health  of  the  people  in  the  village, 
Major  De  Peyster  made  them  a  proposition  to  clean  up  the  river  front,  as 
follows : 

"Gentlemen:  As  the  vacant  spaces  of  ground  lying  between  each  of  your 
lots  and  the  water  side  is  now  occupied  with  all  sorts  of  filth  and  become  a 
nuisance  which  should  be  removed,  if  you  will  go  to  the  expense  of  filling  up 
the  whole  of  them  with  good  earth  and  render  it  an  even  surface,  at  the  same 
time  extending  jour  lot  with  fences  so  as  to  leave  only  a  passage  for  carts  be- 
tween them  and  the  water's  edge,  you  shall  have  such  spaces  of  ground  in  lieu 
of  the  expenses  you  may  be  at,  but  if  you  do  not  choose  to  occupy  them  on 
these  conditions,  let  me  know  and  I  will  give  them  to  others,  for  I  can  no  longer 
suffer  them  to  remain  as  they  now  are." 

Until  the  date  of  this  offer,  June  1,  1782,  the  picket  line  of  the  post  was  in 
the  shallow  water  a  little  south  of  Woodbridge  Street,  extending  from  Gris- 
wold  Street  to  Wayne,  or  perhaps  to  Cass  Street.  The  filling  in  extended  the 
solid  bank  nearly  to  Atwater  Street.     The  offer  was  taken  advantage  of  by  the 


adjoining  landowners  immediately,  and  constituted  one  of  the  charges  made 
by  Jehu  Hay  against  De  Peyster,  a  year  or  two  later,  when  the  latter  indi- 
vidual came  to  Detroit  as  its  governor. 


Williams  resigned  his  office  a»  keeper  of  the  records  in  July,  1784,  and 
Guillaume  ]\Ionforton  received  a  conditional  and  temporary  appointment  in 
his  place.  There  is  an  entry  in  the  public  records  showing  the  whereabouts 
of  these  records  from  this  date  until  their  retui'n  to  Detroit  in  1790.  It  is  as 
follows : 

"This  record  was  sent  down  to  Quebec  bj^  order  of  the  commander-in- 
chief  in  the  year  1784,  where  it  remained  until  the  year  1790,  when  it  was 
brought  up  from  thence  by  William  Dummer  Powell,  Esq.,  first  judge  of  his 
majesty's  court  of  common  pleas  for  the  district  of  Hesse,  and  afterwards 
deposited  in  my  office  in  the  year  1790,  in  the  month  of  May,  and  is  now  con- 
tinued. During  the  interval  the  records  of  the  district  were  in  the  hands  of 
William  Alonforton,  who  acted  as  notary  public,  to  which  reference  must 
be  had. 

"T.  Smith, 

"C.  C.  Pleas.  District  of  Hesse. 
"24th  May  1790." 

The  three  volumes  which  contain  these  old  records  were  sent  by  the  Can- 
adian government  to  Detroit  some  years  ago.  When  the  records  were  sent  down 
to  Quebec  in  1784,  the  people  attempted  to  enter  a  protest  against  the  act, 
and  governor  (John  Hay)  represented  to  Haldimand  the  concern  of  the  people 
over  the  sending  out  of  the  records,  but  the  protest  was  in  vain.  It  was  at 
the  end  of  the  war.  All  work  on  the  fortifications  was  stopped  and  the  sol- 
diers were  getting  ready  to  leave.  Everything  in  the  form  of  government 
property  was  taken  away  or  was  being  prepared  for  shipment.  It  was  not 
until  some  months  after  this  that  Haldimand  was  notified  that  it  was  the 
intention  of  the  British  government  to  retain  possession  of  the  western  posts. 

The  fourth  volume  of  these  old  records  is  now  in  Ottawa.  The  volume 
contains  this  statement:  "This  book  belongs  to  C.  F.  Labadie  and  he  has  the 
right  to  it  whenever  he  wants  it,  wherever  he  finds  it"  and  "John  Stuart  of 
Windsor  purchased  this  book  of  C.  F.  Labadie."  It  further  appears  that  Guil- 
laume Monforton,  the  notary  and  register,  carried  off  the  old  record  and  upon 
his  death  left  it  to  his  son  by  the  same  name  and  that  it  next  came  by  inherit- 
ance to  a  grandson  by  the  same  name.  In  1858  the  third  Guillaume  Monforton 
gave  the  book  to  Charles  F.  Labadie.  It  covers  the  period  from  1786  to  1792 
and  contains  350  pages.  There  must  be  at  least  one  other  volume  still  missing, 
to  carry  the  record  to  179(1.  The  first  Guillaume  Monforton  became  distressed 
in  his  old  age  and  at  one  time  was  in  prison  for  ilebt. 


By  his  proclamation  of  July  24,  1788,  Lord  Dorchester  added  a  few  more 
districts  to  the  Province  of  Quebec.  The  district  of  Nassau  as  then  organ- 
ized was  bounded  on  the  west  by  a  north  and  south  line  interesecting  the  ex- 
treme projection  of  Long  Point  in  Lake  Erie,  and  the  district  of  Hesse  com- 
prised all  of  the  residue  in  the  province  in  the  western  or  inland  parts  thereof, 
of  the  entire  breadth  thereof,  from  the  southern  to  the  northern  boundary 


of  the  same.  The  uncertainty  in  fixing  this  western  limit  of  the  district  of  Hesse 
was  so  planned  as  to  include  Detroit  and  the  lands  lying  west  of  the  Great  Lakes 
without  mentioning  them  by  name.  These  western  lands  formed  a  part  of  the 
new  United  States  and  any  open  assertion  of  ownership  by  Great  Britain  would 
have  irritated  the  people  of  the  country,  and  probably  have  reopened  the  war 
just  closed. 


In  1780  Governor  Haldimand  directed  a  commission  to  be  made  out  for 
a  person  to  act  as  Judge  of  the  Court  of  Common  Pleas  at  Detroit  and  another 
commission  for  some  Cana'iian  to  act  there  as  an  assessor.  He  appointed 
Arent  Schuj'ler  De  Peyster  and  Thomas  Williams  justices  of  the  peace.  The 
attorney-general,  J.  Monk,  while  wishing  to  comply  with  the  order  of  the  gov- 
ernor, did  not  purpose  to  do  so  without  investigating  the  matter.     He  writes: 

"The  appointment  of  some  Canadian  to  act  as  assessor  at  Detroit  puts 
me  to  the  difficultj'  and  necessity  of  requesting  you  will  please  to  obtain  the 
governor's  directions  and  signify  to  me  what  powers  this  officer  is  to  be  vested 
with  by  such  commission,  as  it  is  an  office  new  and  undefined  by  any  com- 
mission heretofore  made  in  this  government.  Are  the  powers  of  the  judge  of 
common  pleas  at  Detroit  limited  to  any  district,  town  or  tract  of  any  country, 
and  what?  It  may  be  proper  to  express  this  clearly  in  his  commission  to  avoid 
any  doubt  or  difficulty  hereafter." 

In  answer  to  the  above  questions  the  governor  replied  that  at  all  posts  where 
lieutenant-governors  were  stationed,  provision  was  made  for  a  judge  and  as- 
sistant or  assessor.  According  to  the  instructions,  the  latter  is  to  give  his 
advice  to  the  judge  in  any  matter  where  necessary,  but  to  have  no  authority 
or  power  to  attest  or  issue  any  process,  or  to  gi\-e  vote  or  judgment  in  any  case 
whatsoever.  All  that  is  meant  by  the  general  at  present  is  to  afford  a  tem- 
porary relief  in  the  case  of  small  debts  at  the  settlement  of  Detroit  until  the 
legislature  has  leisure  to  take  the  matter  up,  when,  undoubtedly,  the  limits 
of  its  jurisdiction  will  be  assigned.  Of  course,  appeals  in  all  cases  above  the 
value  of  ten  pounds  sterling  nuist   be  allowed. 


Two  old  documents  written  in  Detroit  have  lately  been  found  and  they 
contain  interesting  information.  The  first  is  from  the  governor,  Jehu  Hay, 
to  General  Haldimand,  dated  at  Detroit,  October  9,  1784.  Mr.  Hay  was  not 
particularly  well-liked  either  by  the  citizens  or  by  his  superior  officers.  He  had 
been  in  Detroit  many  years  as  a  subordinate  officer  in  the  army  and  in  the 
Indian  department.  He  was  a  follower  of  Governor  Hamilton  and  had  been 
made  a  prisoner  at  the  surrender  of  Post  Vincennes  to  Gen.  George  Rogers 
Clark.  Coming  back  to  Canada  he  received  the  appointment  of  lieutenant- 
governor  of  Detroit,  but  did  not  at  once  return  there.  Arent  Schuyler  De 
Peyster,  the  military  commandant,  stated  that  Hay  was  a  military  officer 
subordinate  to  himself  and  he  refused  to  remain  in  command  of  the  mihtary 
department  if  the  civil  department  was  turned  over  to  Hay.  Hay  was  there- 
fore detained  at  Montreal,  Carleton  Island  and  Niagara  until  a  new  place  was 
found  for  De  Peyster  as  commandant  at  Niagara.  Hay  was  ill  and  died  shortly 
after  returning  to  Detroit  and  was  buried  on  the  site  of  Michigan  Mutual  Life 
Insurance  Company,  at  Jefferson  Avenue  and  Griswold  Street. 


His  protracted  illness  made  him  fretful  and  petulant  with  ever.yone  he 
met.  They  reciprocated  by  disliking  him.  When  he  was  requested  to  send  the 
records,  he  sent  them  with  a  letter  of  protest.  In  his  letter  he  said  that  he  had 
delivered  the  village  records  to  Lieutenant  Smyth  of  the  Thirty-first  Regiment; 
that  the  people  expressed  some  concern  at  their  being  sent  away  from  the 
place  and  said  that  many  must  suffer  in  their  private  affairs  for  want  of  ref- 
erence to  them.  In  obedience  to  instructions  from  Haldimand,  Hay  had  pub- 
lished permission  to  all  persons  who  chose  to  leave  Detroit  to  do  so,  and  or- 
dered those  who  did  not  intend  to  reside  permanently  to  depart  at  once.  His 
proclamation  was  torn  down  and  another  put  up  in  its  place.  A  reward  of 
twenty  pounds  was  offered  for  the  discovery  of  the  person  who  tore  down  the 

"I  cannot  conceive  why  anybody  should  do  a  thing  of  the  sort,  except  some 
insolent  fellow  who  chose  to  show  how  little  he  or  others  think  of  my  authority 
here,"  wrote  Hay,  "but  if  the  person  is  found  and  I  have  sufficient  proof, 
I  shall  send  him  or  her  to  Montreal  to  be  dealt  with  as  your  excellency  shall 
please  to  direct." 

He  further  said  that  there  were  many  persons  at  Detroit,  who  were  still 
designated  as  prisoners  of  war,  through  the  war  had  terminated  more  than  a 
year  before.  These  persons  were  always  at  libei'ty  to  leave  the  place,  but  some 
remained  in  hopes  of  getting  their  children  and  relatives  who  were  detained 
by  the  Indians,  and  some  could  not  go,  such  as  orphans  and  women,  and  these 
still  obtained  provisions  from  the  military  department. 

BRITISH    VIEW    OF    DETROIT    I\    1787 

In  another  paper  is  a  report  dated  August  3,  1787,  made  by  Maj.  R.  Mat- 
thews to  General  Haldimand.  Major  Matthews  was  sent  to  examine  the 
western  posts  and  this  letter  is  in  the  line  of  the  official  reports  he  made  as  the 
.result  of  his  investigations.  He  arrived  in  Detroit  June  9,  1787.  The  time 
taken  to  arrange  the  militia  and  examine  titles  to  lands  delayed  his  departure 
so  much  that  he  feared  he  would  have  to  return  with  snowshoes.  In  reading 
these  letters  one  is  forced  to  see  American  progress  through  British  eyes,  and 
the  prospect  is  strange  and  very  often  untrue,  or  visionary.  Detroit  belonged 
to  the  United  States,  but  English  troops  were  in  possession  of  it  in  a  time  of 
peace,  and  Great  Britain  refused  to  vacate  and  carry  out  the  solemn  agreement 
she  had  made  in  the  treaty  of  Paris  in  1783.  It  was  very  evident  that  she  wanted 
to  avoid  carrying  out  the  treaty  which  Oswald  had  thus  made  for  her  and  would 
have  taken  advantage  of  any  excuse.    Major  Matthews  reports  as  follows: 

"There  are  lately  arrived  at  Post  Vincennes  500  continental  troops  under 
Colonel  Harmar,  a  very  clever  man,  who  had  been  long  destined  for  the  direc- 
tion of  affairs  upon  the  Wabash — and  it  is  confidentlj'  asserted  that  there  are 
two  other  armies  to  co-operate  from  Wheeling  and  Muskingum  upon  the  Ohio. 
The  object,  it  is  said,  is  to  establish  posts  at  the  Miamis  town  (the  great  center 
and  channel  of  the  trade  of  this  quarter),  the  Glaze,  Sandusky  and  Roche- 
dcbout.     Mingo  they  have  sometime  occupied  as  a  post  and  built  a  fort. 

i  "Presqu'  Isle  (now  Erie,  Pa.)  they  are  also  to  occupy  as  a  post.  Though  the 
Indians  insist  upon  it,  I  have  not  a  conception  that  the  Americans  will  attempt 
this  post  (Detroit),  nor  do  I  think  it  would  be  worth  our  while  to  dispute  it  with 
them  if  they  succeed  in  establishing  the  above  posts,  though  I  believe  we  have 
not  been  in  better  situation  to  do  it  for  some  years,  Fort  Lernoult  being  in 


perfect  repair  and  having  six  companies  nearly  complete;  we  have  six  com- 
panies of  militia  consisting  of  nearly  800. 

"Had  Mr.  Oswald  or  even  Lord  Landsdown  seen  this  delightful  settle- 
ment, they  surely  could  never  have  signed  away  the  right  of  the  nation  to  it. 
In  point  of  climate,  soil,  situation  and  the  beauties  of  nature,  nothing  can 
exceed  it,  and  yet  for  want  of  good  order  and  legal  protection  (which  would 
bring  respectable  settlers)  the  trade  and  even  cultivation  are  at  the  last  gasp. 
Individuals  possess  immense  tracts  of  land  upon  general  grants,  sell  out  in 
detail  to  poor  wretches  for  £100  for  three  acres  in  front  by  forty  deep  for  which 
the  farm  is  at  the  same  time  mortgaged.  The  settler  labors  for  a  few  years 
with  only  half  his  vigor,  paying  and  starving  all  the  time  and,  ultimately,  from 
debts  on  every  hand,  is  obliged  to  give  up  his  land. 

"In  trade  the  lowest  of  all  the  professions  resort  to  these  obscure  places, 
they  are  without  education  or  sentiment  and  many  of  them  without  common 
honesty.  They  are  perpetually  overreaching  one  another,  knowing  that  they 
are  too  distant  for  the  immediate  effects  of  the  law  to  overtake  them.  The 
only  recourse  in  all  matters  in  dispute  is  the  commanding  officer,  for  our  jus- 
tices of  the  peace,  it  seems,  are  not  authorized  to  take  cognizance  of  matters 
relating  to  property,  on  which  almost  every  diffei'ence  arises,  so  that  if  the  com- 
manding officer  is  indolent  or  indifferent  he  will  not  hear  them  at  all,  or  if  he 
does  hear  and  decide,  his  judgment,  though  perhaps  equitable,  may  be  very 
contrary  to  law,  and  hereafter  involve  him  in  very  unpleasant  consequences. 
Besides  that,  acting  in  the  capacity  of  a  judge,  his  whole  time  is  so  employed 
that  he  cannot  pay  the  necessary  attention  to  his  professional  duties.  It  is 
much  to  be  wished  that  some  mode  for  the  prompt  and  effectual  administra- 
tion of  justice  were  established,  for  the  want  of  it  is  a  temptation  to  many  to 
take  advantages  and  commit  little  chicaneries  disgraceful  to  society  and  dis- 
tressing to  trade  and  individuals.  In  all  matters  where  I  cannot  clearly  de- 
dide,  I  make  the  parties  refer  to  arbitration,  binding  themselves  by  bond  to 
submit  to  the  decision." 


Affairs  had  come  to  such  a  pass  for  want  of  laws  and  courts  at  Detroit  that 
the  council  at  Quebec  took  up  the  matter  and  appointed  a  committee  of  mer- 
chants at  Montreal  to  investigate  the  matter  and  report  a  system  of  procedure. 
This  committee,  in  its  report,  stated  that  Detroit  and  the  upper  posts  were 
indebted  to  Montreal  more  than  three  hundred  thousand  pounds  sterling, 
and  that  these  posts  should  be  kept  in  possession  by  the  government,  for  if 
they  were  given  up,  a  very  great  proportion  of  that  large  sum  would  be  lost, 
to  the  hurt  of  the  nation  and  the  ruin  of  numberless  individuals. 

They  proposed  that  Detroit  and  Mackinac  should  be  erected  into  a  sepa- 
rate district  and  that  a  court  of  civil  jurisdiction  should  be  established,  to 
be  called  the  court  of  common  pleas.  There  should  be  one  judge,  whose  de- 
cision should  be  final  for  all  matters  in  dispute  under  fifty  pounds,  but  in  all 
other  matters  an  appeal  should  lie  to  the  court  at  Montreal.  Appeals  should 
be  in  the  form  of  a  new  trial.  Depositions  of  witnesses  at  a  distance  could 
be  taken  to  be  used  at  such  trial.  The  judge  should  reside  at  Detroit,  but 
he  should  go  once  a  year,  say  in  May,  to  Mackinac,  and  should  there  remain 
until  July  25th,  to  hear  all  cases  brought  before  him,  where  the  amount  involved 
did  not  exceed  one  hundred  pounds.     The  property  of  fraudulent  debtors  could 

Vol.  1—14 


be  seized  on  attachment,  and  only  released  upon  security  being  given  to  abide 
the  final  decision  of  the  court. 

As  a  further  reason  for  the  establishment  of  Detroit  as  a  separate  district, 
the  committee  stated  that : 

"Detroit  is  become  a  settlement,  both  of  great  extent  and  great  conse- 
quence. It  annually  fits  out  a  vast  trade  to  the  interior  posts  circumjacent  to 
it,  at  which,  in  the  course  of  carrying  on,  disputes  and  differences  invariably 
arise,  to  determine  which,  for  want  of  a  judicial  power  on  the  spot,  they  are 
obliged  to  have  resort  to  the  courts  of  Montreal." 

They  estimated  that  between  the  date  of  sending  for  a  summons  from 
Detroit,  as  the  commencement  of  a  suit,  fully  six  months  would  elapse  be- 
fore the  defendant  could  be  served  properly,  and  in  this  time  he  could  dispose 
of  his  property  and  leave  the  settlement.  Not  less  than  forty  suits  a  year, 
all  above  ten  pounds  were  instituted  by  persons  residing  at  Detroit  against 
others  of  the  same  place,  and  not  above  one-fourth  of  that  number  were  suc- 
cessfully carried  forward,  owing  to  the  great  delay  in  serving  processes. 

"We  believe  a  judge  there  would  have  not  less  than  300  or  400  causes  a 
j'ear  to  determine.  For  their  present  state,  they  have  no  means  to  enforce 
payment  from  their  debtors,  it  is  on  their  honor  and  honesty  they  must  rely — 
a  sorry  dependence  in  a  country  where  there  is  neither  a  power  to  check  or  re- 
strain the  most  dissolute  and  licentious  morals." 

It  was  in  response  to  this  report  that  the  council  authorized  the  forma- 
tion of  a  new  judicial  district,  to  include  Detroit,  which  was  established  by 
Lord  Dorchester  July  24,  1788,  and  called  Hesse.  On  the  same  daj^  he  ap- 
pointed the  following  as  justices  of  the  Court  of  Common  Pleas:  Duperon 
Baby,  Alexander  McKee  and  William  Robertson.  He  at  the  same  time 
appointed  eight  justices  of  the  peace,  namely:  Alexander  Grant,  Guillaume 
LaMotte,  St.  Martin  Adhemar,  William  Macomb,  Joncaire  de  Chabert,  Alex- 
ander Maisonville,  William  Caldwell,  and  Mathew  Elliott.  The  appointed 
sheriff  was  Gregor  McGregor.  The  clerk  was  Thomas  Smith  and  the  coroner 
George  Meldrum. 

Every  one  of  these  names  is  familiar  to  all  who  have  read  Detroit's  earlj' 
history.  The  list  is  about  equallj'  divided  between  the  Canadians  and  the 
English.  Of  the  list,  Joncaire  de  Chabert  and  George  Meldrum  only  remained 
on  the  American  side  during  their  lives,  after  the  British  occupation  ceased. 
St.  Martin  moved  to  Vincennes.  Smith  remained  here  many  years;  he  be- 
came a  surveyor  and  acted  in  that  capacity  in  planning  the  city  after  1805, 
but  he  eventually  went  to  Canada  and  died  in  Windsor.  Macomb  lived  in 
Detroit  and  died  a  short  time  before  the  evacuation  in  1796.  All  of  the  others 
left  Michigan  and  most  of  them  lived  along  the  south  shore  of  the  Detroit  River 
in  Canada. 


No  sooner  had  the  news  of  the  appointments  reached  Detroit  than  there 
was  a  popular  uprising  in  opposition  to  the  government.  A  public  indigna- 
tion meeting  was  called  and  a  long  protest  drawn  up,  signed  In'  the  English 
residents.  The  opposition  was  not  because  of  the  individuals  named  as  judges, 
but  because  they  were  not  understood  to  be  qualified  to  fill  the  office  properly. 
Two  of  the  judges-elect,  Robertson  and  Baby,  personally  accompanied  the 
protest  to  Quebec,  and  Robertson  read  it  in  the  council  chamber  in  that  city 


on  October  24,  1788.  Some  of  the  important  points  in  this  protest  were  as 

Canadians,  with  the  exception  of  ^Nlr.  Baby,  were  not  concerned  in  trade 
and  were,  consequently,  very  little  concerned  in  the  courts  of  law.  Mr.  Baby 
did  not  think  it  proper  that  he  should  sign  the  protest  as  he  was  named  as  one 
of  the  judges.  He  explained  the  method  of  arbitration  in  common  use  at  De- 
troit by  saying  that  a  general  arbitration  bond  was  entered  into  and  every 
person  who  signed  it  bound  himself  to  abide  by  the  decisions  of  the  arbitrators. 
(They  sat  in  rotation).  Those  who  submitted  their  differences  to  the  arbi- 
trators could  not  be  compelled  to  abide  by  their  decisions,  yet  the  dread  of  the 
consequences  of  refusing  to  submit  to  those  determinations  gave  force  to  their 
awards,  for  those  who  would  not  obey  could  not  recover  debts  and  the  com- 
manding officer  refused  to  grant  them  passes  for  their  canoes  to  the  Indian 
country.  Yet  still  there  were  people  who  refused  to  abide  by  their  decisions, 
not  from  unreasonableness  nor  the  injustice  of  their  awards,  but  from  a  want 
of  inclination  to  pay  their  debts.  It  was  agreed  by  those  who  signed  the  gen- 
eral arbitration  bond  to  pay  each  ah  equal  portion  of  the  expenses  of  any  suit 
of  law  which  might  be  carried  on  against  any  of  them  in  consequence  of  their 
decision  in  this  arbitration  court.  People  who  lived  in  Detroit  were  com- 
pelled to  submit  or  live  there  as  outlawed.  Robertson  said  further  that  some 
of  the  persons  who  were  named  as  justices  of  the  peace  were  ignorant  and  il- 
literate. Maisonville  and  Elliott  could  mechanically  sign  their  names,  but  they 
could  neither  read  nor  write.     Caldwell  had  not  a  good  education. 

There  were  four  thousand  people  in  and  about  and  dependent  upon  Detroit. 
The  remedy  advised  by  Mr.  Robertson  was  the  establishment  of  a  Court  of 
Common  Pleas  with  a  judge  who  lived  in  Detroit  and  who  might  visit  Mackinac 
once  a  year  to  hear  causes  there.  The  judge  ought  to  be  versed  in  the  law  and 
receive  a  salary  and  devote  his  entire  time  to  his  official  duties. 

In  reply  to  a  question  as  to  the  public  buildings  in  Detroit  or  Mackinac, 
Mr.  Robertson  said  that  there  were  none  at  Mackinac,  but  at  Detroit  there 
were  two  French  churches  (one  on  each  side  of  the  river)  but  no  English  church, 
for  the  English  never  had  a  church  in  the  upper  countrJ^  There  were  no  bar- 
racks. Fort  Lernoult,  the  government  house  where  the  commanding  officer 
usually  resided,  the  council  house,  where  the  Indians  assembled  and  delivered 
their  speeches,  the  block-houses  at  the  different  angles  of  Detroit  within  the 
pickets  and  the  water  side,  the  naval  dockyard  and  the  necessary  buildings 
belonging  to  it  without  the  pickets,  on  the  east  side  of  the  town.  These  were 
the  public  buildings  of  Detroit. 

It  was  deemed  necessary  for  the  English  Government  to  retain  possession 
of  Detroit  if  it  wished  to  hold  the  fur  trade.  As  a  conclusion  to  the  investigation, 
it  was  sought  to  ascertain  how,  in  the  past,  laws  had  been  administered  in 
Detroit,  and  in  answer  to  the  question  Robertson  said: 

"Before  the  conquest  (1760)  if  any  laws  were  followed  or  administered, 
they  necessarily  must  have  been  those  of  France  or  what  prevailed  in  the  rest 
of  the  province;  from  the  conquest  to  the  passing  of  the  Quebec  Act  (1774) 
I  have  understood  from  the  people  there,  it  was  the  English  law  that  had  been 
considered  as  the  rule  of  decision,  but  I  believe  there  have  been  few  instances 
since  the  conquest  to  the  present  time  of  any  law  whatever  having  been  ad- 
ministered there." 

At  the  conclusion  of  the  investigation  a  draft  of  a  report  was  drawn  up  by 


the  council  and  submitted  to  Lord  Dorchester.  It  was  the  opinion  of  the 
council  that  a  competent  person  for  judge  could  not  be  found  in  the  district, 
and  that  when  the  proper  person  was  found  and  appointed,  he  should  receive 
a  salary  of  five  hundred  pounds,  without  fees.  They  reported  against  the 
project  of  arbitration  as  formerly  carried  on. 

As  two  of  the  judges  who  had  been  appointed  had  resigned,  it  became  neces- 
sary to  select  another  person  to  fill  the  vacancy  and  the  purpose  this  time  was 
to  select  one  judge  instead  of  the  three  who  had  been  appointed,  but  who  had 
never  acted.  Lord  Dorchester,  in  discussing  the  cjualifications  necessary  for 
the  position  in  a  letter  to  Lord  Sydney,  said: 

"At  Detroit,  where  much  property  is  circulated  in  commercial  transactions 
in  the  Indian  trade,  cases  are  more  complicated  and  increased  by  the  mixture 
of  Canadian  and  British  settlers  and  the  diversity  of  these  customs.  The 
administration  of  justice  in  that  district  will,  therefore,  require  talents  which 
may  be  difficult  to  find  without  a  more  ample  encouragement  than  what  may 
be  sufficient  in  the  other  parts  of  the  province.  The  commandant  at  Detroit 
had  hitherto  ordinarily  been  imder  the  necessity  of  interfering  for  the  preserva- 
tion of  order  in  the  settlement." 


Early  in  1789,  Lord  Dorchester  appointed  William  Dummer  Powell  the 
first  justice  of  the  common  pleas  in  the  district  of  Hesse,  and  directed  him  to 
proceed  to  Detroit  as  soon  as  the  season  would  permit,  to  make  that  place  his 
home.  He  also  appointed  a  land  board  to  consist  of  Major  Clere,  or  the  officer 
commanding  at  Detroit,  AVilliam  Dummer  Powell  and  an\'  one  of  the  following 
named  justices  of  the  peace,  Duperon  Baby,  Alexander  McKee,  William  Robert- 
son, Alexander  Grant,  and  St.  Martin  Adhemar.  Concerning  the  choice  of 
Judge  Powell,  Dorchester  said  that  the  appointment  did  not  take  place  until 
the  persons  originalh'  appointed  among  the  principal  inhabitants  of  the  district 
had  declined  the  trust,  nor  until  the  necessity  of  a  professional  man  to  preside 
in  the  court  had  been  fully  ascertained.  He  said  that  Mr.  Powell  was  of  the 
Middle  Temple  in  1776  and  had  borne  arms  under  General  Gage  at  Boston, 
that  he  was  a  considerable  sufferer  b}'  his  loyalty  and  cut  off  from  the  prospect 
of  a  valuable  family  inheritance,  that  he  came  to  Canada  in  1779,  recommended 
by  the  Secretaiy  of  State.     In  conclusion  Dorchester  said: 

"A  man  of  confidence  and  abilities  is  very  desirable  for  that  distant  part 
of  the  province,  and  I  know  of  no  character  at  the  bar  here  (Quebec)  better 
qualified  or  more  likely  than  he  is  to  do  justice  to  the  trust  reposed  in  him." 


It  was  proposed  in  1789  to  divide  the  Canadian  possessions  into  two  provinces 
to  be  termed  Upper  and  Lower  Canada.  Each  province  was  to  have  a  legis- 
lature to  be  composed  of  a  council,  of  which  the  members  were  chosen  for  life, 
and  a  house  of  assembly,  to  be  elected.  In  Upper  Canada  there  were  to  be  not 
less  than  seven  members  of  the  council,  to  be  appointed  bj-  the  king.  The 
lower  house  was  to  contain  not  less  than  sixteen  members  to  be  returned  by 
districts,  the  limits  of  which  were  to  he  fixed  by  the  governor.  Members  were 
to  be  elected  by  citizens  who  were  landowners  or  lent  payers.  They  were  to 
hold  office  for  four  years  unless  the  assembly  or  parliament  should  be  sooner 
prorogued  by  the  governor. 


The  legal  division  of  the  two  provinces  took  place  on  December  26,  1791, 
but  the  parliamentar.v  elections  did  not  take  place  until  the  following  j'ear. 
In  the  meantime  Lord  Dorchester  had  left  Canada  for  England  and  the  direc- 
tion of  government  was  left  with  the  lieutenant-governor,  Alfred  Clarke. 

One  of  the  important  points  under  discussion  in  the  formation  of  the  two 
new  provinces  was  the  description  of  the  territories  embraced  in  each  province. 
This  matter  was  one  of  great  interest  to  the  English  government  at  this  date. 
Mr.  Grenville  stated  that  "if  the  line  of  demarcation  was  that  mentioned  in  the 
treaty  of  1783,  Detroit,  which  the  infraction  of  the  treaty  on  the  part  of 
America  has  induced  his  majesty  to  retain,  would  be  excluded  from  the  upper 
province,  while  if  it  was  included,  by  express  terms,  by  an  act  of  the  British 
parliament,  it  would  probably  excite  a  considerable  degree  of  resentment  among 
the  inhabitants  of  the  United  States  and  might  provoke  them  to  measures 
detrimental  to  our  commercial  interests.  The  proper  solution  of  this  difficulty 
would  be  to  describe  the  upper  district  by  general  terms  as — all  the  territories 
possessed  by  and  subject  to  his  majesty  west  of  the  boundary  line  of  Lower 

Between  the  date  of  the  appointment  of  Powell  and  the  division  of  the 
province,  the  affairs  of  the  upper  countrj-  were  conducted  under  the  act  which 
gave  the  governor  the  appointment.  The  act  for  the  division  of  the  province 
omitted  to  make  any  provision  for  the  management  of  affairs  during  the  interval 
between  the  passage  of  that  act  and  the  first  meeting  of  the  legislative  council. 
John  Graves  Simcoe  was  appointed  lieutenant-governor  of  Upper  Canada,  and 
he  issued  a  proclamation,  dated  Julj^  9,  1792,  for  the  care  of  the  province  in 
this  interval.  He  directed  that  the  "judges,  justices  and  all  other  of  our  civil 
officers,  who,  on  the  26th  day  of  December  last  (,1791)  held  offices  or  employ- 
ments, judicial  or  ministerial,  within  that  part  of  our  late  province  of  Quebec, 
which  now  constitutes  the  province  of  Upper  Canada,  should  continue  in  their 
respective  offices  and  employment.?."  The  proclamation,  of  which  the  fore- 
going is  an  excerpt,  was  sent  up  to  Detroit  by  D.  W.  Smith,  enclosed  in  a  letter 
which  will  be  copied  in  full. 


The  letter  relates  to  one  of  the  most  interesting  incidents  that  ever  took 
place  in  Detroit,  the  election  of  a  member  of  parliament.  This  is  the  only 
excuse  for  including  so  long  a  document.  David  William  Smith,  the  writer 
of  this  letter,  was  born  September  4,  1764,  and  was  the  only  son  of  John  Smith 
and  Anne,  daughter  of  WiUiam  Waylen  of  Rowde  Hill,  Wiltshire,  England. 
The  elder  Smith  was  commandant  at  Niagara,  Canada,  and  died  there  in  179.5. 
David  was  an  ensign  and  subsequently  captain,  in  the  Fifth  Foot.  He  was  an 
attorney,  or  barrister,  in  Upper  Canada  and  was  also  surveyor-general.  He 
was  a  member  of  the  first  three  Canadian  parliaments  and  speaker  of  the  house. 
He  was  created  a  baronet  in  1821.     The  letter  is  as  follows: 

"Niagara  26  July,  1792. 

"Mj'  Dear  Sir:  The  governor's  proclamations  are  arrived  dividing  the 
upper  country.  The  N.  county  is  called  Essex,  and  is  bounded  on  the  east  by 
the  carrying  place  from  Point  au  Pins  to  the  River  La  Tranche  (Thames) 
bounded  on  the  south  by  Lake  Erie  and  on  the  west  by  the  River  Detroit  to 
Maisonville's  mill,  from  thence  by  a  line  running  parallel  to  the  River  Detroit 
and  Lake  St.  Clair,  at  the  distance  of  four  miles  until  it  reaches  the  River  La 


Tranche,  thence  up  the  said  river  to  where  the  carrying  place  from  Point  an 
Pins  strikes  that  river.  This  said  county  of  Essex,  with  the  adjoining  county 
of  Suffolk  (in  which  there  arc  no  inhabitants)  sends  one  member.  Those  who 
have  certificates  (for  lands)  only,  I  understand,  can  vote.  This  tract  compre- 
hends the  new  settlers  on  Lake  Erie  (Amherstburg)  who  have  generally  certifi- 
cates, Monforton's  company,  who  have  none  except  they  have  recorded  them 
since  my  departure,  and  Maisonville's  company  to  the  mill,  in  this  place 
there  are  inhabitants  on  twelve  acres  front  just  above  the  church,  who  will  vote 
by  reason  of  their  having  French  deeds  'en  roture'  and  those  settled  on  the  South 
side  of  River  La  Tranche,  a  few  of  whom  have  certificates  and  where  I  myself 
am  a  freeholder.  This  damned  election  business  seems  to  bind  me  to  the  county, 
for  you  know  I  am  not  fond  of  deserting  any  cause  I  undertake,  and  that  of  the 
public  is  most  dear  to  me.  Should  I  be  returned  without  an  undue  election  or 
the  appearance  of  party  or  bribery,  I  shall  be  most  happy,  and  in  that  case  I  beg 
an  ox  be  roasted  whole  on  the  common  and  a  barrel  of  rum  be  given  to  the  mob, 
to  wash  down  the  beef.  You  will  draw  on  me  for  the  amount.  I  .shovdd  have 
great  pleasure  in  helping  to  frame  laws  for  lands  which  I  have  had  so  much 
pleasure  in  laying  out.  Mr.  Pollard  who  is  appointed  sheriff,  is  returning  officer. 
The  writs  are  issued  this  day  and  returnable  the  12th  Sept.  I  depend  a  good 
deal  on  j^our  goodness,  favor  and  affection  in  this  business  and  hope  I  need  not 
make  any  apologies  on  that  score.  As  I  have  begun  the  canvas  I  am  determined 
to  go  through  with  it,  and  should  I  succeed  I  hope  to  support  my  character  after- 
wards. We  shall  not  certainly  have  the  province  there  four  years,  so  that  where- 
ever  the  seat  of  government  may  be,  or  whatever  may  be  the  destination  of  the 
regiment,  I  make  no  doubt  that  I  shall  be  able  to  attend  the  council  and  assembly 
yearl}'.  My  having  done  the  settlers'  business  without  emoluments  from  any 
cjuarter,  should  he  some  inducement  to  them,  on  the  score  of  gratitude,  to  return 
me.  I  rather  think  that  it  is  intended  that  the  people  who  have  French  grants 
on  the  garrison  side  should  vote,  as  the  description  of  the  county  of  Kent  com- 
prehends a  great  deal  and  sends  two  members.  It  is  said  to  contain  all  the 
country  (not  being  territories  of  the  Indians,  and  not  already  included  in  E-sex 
and  the  several  other  counties  described)  extending  northward  to  the  boundary 
line  of  Hud.son's  Bay — including  all  the  territory  to  the  westward  and  southward 
of  the  said  line  to  the  utmost  extent  of  the  county  commonly  called  or  known  by 
the  name  of  Canada. 

"Should  candidates  to  represent  this  count}'  go  a  begging  and  you  find  I  have 
no  chance  for  Essex,  I  shall  be  proud  to  be  returned  for  this  county,  but  as  the 
French  people  know  little  of  me  I  have  not  any  hopes  on  that  score.  I  am  very 
ill  at  present,  myself,  or  I  would  certainly  go  up  to  Detroit,  but  if  the  people  are 
sincere,  that  is  unnecessary  and  this  will  give  it  a  fair  trial.  You  will  do  me  a 
service  by  delivering  to  Mr.  Pollard  the  names  of  those  capable  to  vote,  which 
you  can  get  from  a  small  register  in  the  land  office,  marked  or  rather  indorsed, 
'Certificates  granted'  and  another  indorsed  'French  grants  en  roture.' 

"If  any  Monforton's  or  Maisonville's  company  have  received  certificates 
since  my  departvne,  I  will  1)(>  thankful  to  you  to  use  your  influence  with  them. 
Col.  McKec  has  promised  me  his  interest,  so  has  the  commodore  (Alexander 
Grant)  and  I  think  I  may  depend  upon  Capt.  Elliot,  George  Leith  and  a  few 
others.  When  I  wrote  j'ou  last  it  was  expected  that  Grosse  He,  River  Raisin 
and  Rouge  woulil  have  voted  with  the  new  settlers,  but  that  is  not  the  case. 

"Jacques  Parent,  Lourent  Parent,  Claude  Rheaum,  Bapt.  Le  Due  and  John 


Bapt.  Hortelle,  just  above  the  Huron  church  (Sandwich)  may  probably  ask  for 
an  explanation  of  my  letters  to  them.  They  had  lands  'en  roture'  formerly 
granted  to  Mons.  Longuell  and  they,  of  course,  have  indisputalily  votes.  I  have 
therefore  addressed  them  separately. 

"These  are  the  only  French  deeds  acknowledged  tiy  the  'Tableau  des  Terres 
en  roture'  on  that  side  of  the  water. 

"I  am  sure  you  will  forgive  me  for  sending  so  large  a  pacquet  to  you.  The 
most  of  them  are  for  the  freeholders  on  Lake  Erie,  all  whose  names  I  could  recol- 
lect. The  others  you  will  have  great  goodness  by  putting  in  train  for  their 
destination.     The  governor  arrived  this  day. 

"God  assist  you,  prays, 


The  old  Cjuestion  of  the  boundary  lines  of  the  British  possessions  is  brought 
up  by  this  letter.  It  was  not  certainly  known  whether  Detroit  was  in  the  new 
county  of  Essex  or  Kent,  but  in  whichever  county  it  might  be  located,  Smith  was 
willing  to  sacrifice  himself  for  the  public  good.  This  letter,  as  were  several  others 
on  the  same  subject,  was  written  to  one  of  the  most  influential  men  at  Detroit, 
John  Askin.  There  can  be  no  doubt  that  Mr.  Askin  exerted  himself  to  the  ut- 
most in  favor  of  his  friend,  but  Mr.  Smith  was  not  exceedingly  sanguine  of  suc- 
cess in  the  coming  election.  A  few  daj-s  later  there  was  another  letter  in  which 
he  wrote: 

"This  is  the  situation  for  a  disappointed  candidate  who  is  fed  up  with  hopes 
from  those  who  wish  him  well.  As  I  am  a  little  better  nothing  prevents  my 
setting  off  for  Detroit  immediately,  but  the  coming  of  the  prince.  He  is  to  be 
here  about  the  25th.     My  fate  is  to  be  determined  the  28th. 

"Leith  tells  me  you  have  written  to  me,  but  the  opposite  party  have  got 
hold  of  the  letter  because  they  guessed  its  contents.  Have  proper  booths  erected 
for  my  friends  at  the  hustings,  employ  Forsyth  to  make  large  plum  cakes,  with 
plenty  of  fruit,  etc.,  and  be  sure  let  the  wine  be  good  and  plenty.  Let  the 
peasants  have  a  fiddle,  some  beverage  and  beef.  If  my  absence  merely  should 
be  mentioned  as  a  bar  to  my  election,  you  may  assure  the  world  that  if  there  is 
time  between  the  returns  being  made  and  the  meeting  of  the  assembly,  I  will 
come  up  to  take  the  sentiments  of  the  county,  and  I  will  annually  pay  Detroit 
a  visit  before  I  go  to  meet  the  assembly'." 

Truly,  a  century  has  not  greatly  changed  the  character  of  the  politician. 
Mr.  Patrick  McNiff,  a  surveyor  residing  at  Detroit,  told  Smith  there  was  little 
hope  of  his  success,  but  other  friends  gave  him  more  encouragement  and  Smith 
wrote,  on  August  8th: 

"Evervthing  must  now  be  left  to  fate  and  providence  will  naturally  direct 
for  the  best.  I  am  so  pestered  with  a  fever,  headache,  want  of  appetite  and 
withal  so  weak  that  nothing  else  prevents  me  from  setting  out  for  Detroit  express. 
I  would  kick  up  such  a  dust  in  Essex  as  never  was  there  before — and  I  would 
scrutinize  every  vote  nor  allow  of  any  but  such  as  were  permitted  by  the  act  of 
parliament — that  is  if  the  people  on  Lake  Erie  and  on  the  south  side  of  the  river 
La  Tranche  were  unanimous  for  my  election.  What  with  crossing  the  water 
and  half  a  dozen  masters  to  serve  exclusive  of  God  and  ^lammon,  ill  health  and 
all  together  I  am  completelj'  fagged." 

Smith  was  still  doubtful  of  the  result  and  sent  Lieut.  S.  Selby  up  from  Niagara 
to  assist  in  the  election.     A  few  days  before  the  election  the  latter  wrote  to  Askin: 

"In  case  Mr.  Smith  is  likelv  to  be  hard  run,  I  have  some  votes  to  bring  for- 


ward  at  short  notice,  but  I  would  rather  avoid  their  appearing,  unless  it  was 
absolutely  necessary,  of  this  you  will  be  able  to  judge  in  sufBcient  time  to  send 
me  information." 

The  election  took  place  at  the  appointed  time  and  Mr.  Smith  and  William 
Macomb  were  chosen  to  represent  this  district.  The  assembly,  or  parliament, 
met  at  Newark  (subsequently  called  Niagara)  on  the  17th  of  September  and  the 
house  of  representatives  consisted  of  the  following  fifteen  members:  John  ]Mc- 
Donell  (speaker),  John  Booth,  Mr.  Bab}-,  Alexander  Campbell,  Peter  Van  Al- 
stine,  Jeremiah  French,  Ephraim  Jones,  William  INIacomb,  Hugh  McDonell, 
Benjamin  Rawlin,  Nathaniel  Pettit,  David  AA'illiam  Smith,  Isaac  Swaj-zj',  Mr. 
Young  and  John  White.  Philip  Dorland  was  also  elected,  but  being  a  Quaker, 
he  refused  to  take  the  oath  of  office  and  hence  was  not  given  his  seat  and  Peter 
"\'an  Alstine  was  elected  in  his  place. 


In  order  to  make  a  continuous  narrative  of  the  first,  and  only,  parliamentary 
election  in  Detroit,  we  have  passed  over  a  period  that  developed  other  interesting 
local  legal  matters. 

An  unrecorded  deed  of  laud  made  by  Gregor  McGregor,  sheriff,  of  the  district 
of  Hesse,  dated  March  25,  1791,  running  to  John  Askin,  of  a  parcel  of  land  situ- 
ated on  the  River  Raisin,  was  a  sale  bj'  virtue  of  a  levy  on  an  execution  against 
Etien  Laviolet.  The  tract  of  land  contained  one  hundred  and  sixty  acres  and 
with  a  house  and  barn  sold  for  fifteen  pounds  twelve  shillings  six  pence.  The 
object  in  referring  to  this  deed  is  to  show  that  the  boundaries  of  the  district  were 
supposed  to  include  the  River  Raisin,  and  other  documents  show  that  the  Miami 
country,  northern  Ohio,  was  also  claimed  to  be  in  the  district  of  Hesse. 

Among  other  minor  suits  and  trials  of  this  period  are  a  few  of  interest.  On 
July  29,  1791  John  Chase  (gunner),  John  ]McEvoy,  IVIichael  ISIorisey,  Thomas 
Flavell  and  William  Straight  deserted  from  the  Snow  Chippewa,  intending  to  go 
to  the  colonies.  On  Monday,  August  1st,  William  Fleming,  with  a  party  of 
soldiers  of  the  Twenty-sixth  Regiment,  captm'ed  the  deserters,  and  they  were 
tried  in  Detroit  a  few  days  later  and  committed  to  jail.  The  prisoners  were  all 
discharged  from  the  navy  and  tm-ned  over  to  the  civil  authorities  to  be  tried. 
The  punishment  could  not  have  been  greater  than  imprisonment,  for  they  had 
committed  no  capital  crime  at  civil  law. 

George  Schelsted,  tanner,  complained  that  the  notorious  Simon  Girty,  on 
Sunday,  August  21,  1791,  assaulted  him  as  he  was  riding  on  horseback  near  Cap- 
tain Lamothe's  on  the  King's  Highway  (now  Atwater  Street,  at  the  foot  of 
Randolph  Street).  Schelsted  managed  to  escape,  when  Girty  threw  stones  at 
him  and  struck  him  in  the  head,  wounding  him  severely.  A  warrant  for  Girty's 
arrest  was  sworn  out  by  Schelsted  and  placed  in  the  hands  of  Joseph  Elim,  con- 
stable. Girtj-  was  arrested  and  brought  before  the  justice  for  trial,  but  no  trial 
ever  took  place  as  there  is  indorsed  on  the  back  of  the  warrant  "settled  by  the 


The  village  authorities  had  some  powers  of  passing  rules  and  regulations  for 
the  government  of  the  village,  though  it  is  not  certain  what  these  rules  were, 
whence  derived  or  how  enforced.  Among  the  unpublished  documents  of  that 
period  is  the  following: 


"Report  to  the  commissioners  of  persons  presented  to  me  as  having  tres- 
passed against  the  regulations  of  the  poUce,  Detroit,  August  23,  1791. 

"Mr.  WilHam  Scott,  two  of  his  cows  found  in  the  street  by  Lieutenant 

"Mr.  J.  Welch,  two  of  his  cows  found  in  the  street  by  Lieutenant  Allison. 

"Mr.  Cotie,  two  of  his  cows  found  in  the  street  bj-  Liteuenant  Allison. 

"Mr.  Girardin,  one  of  his  cows  found  in  the  street  by  Lieutenant  Allison. 

"Mr.  Dolson,  one  of  his  cows  found  in  the  street  by  Lieutenant  Allison. 

"Mr.  Smith,  T.  K.,  one  of  his  cows  found  in  the  street  by  Lieutenant  Allison. 

"Mr.  Hands,  one  of  his  cows  found  in  the  street  by  Lieutenant  Allison. 

"Mr.  Whitten,  one  of  his  cows  found  in  the  street  by  Lieutenant  Allison. 

"Mr.  G.  McDougal,  leaving  his  cart  in  the  street  at  night. 

"Mr.  Fraro,  prentice  boy,  galloping  through  the  streets. 

"Mr.  Baby,  no  ladders  provided  for  Mr.  Ross  Lewen  nor  his  own  house. 

"N.  B. — A  number  of  hogs  are  dayl.v  running  in  the  streets  to  the  great  detri- 
ment of  the  public. 

"James  May,  0.  P. 

Possibly  police  regulations  were  those  instituted  by  the  garrison,  though 
James  May  was  not  in  the  army.  He  was  a  prominent  character  in  Detroit  for 
many  years.  A  brief  sketch  of  his  life  is  copied  here  from  the  family  bible  of 
the  late  Alexander  D.  Frazer: 

"Judge  James  May  died  Monday,  January  19,  1829,  aged  73  years.  A  native 
of  Birmingham,  England,  he  emigrated  to  Montreal  during  the  revolution,  was 
present  at  the  capture  of  Ethan  Allen,  and  in  1778  removed  to  Detroit.  Ever 
after  the  surrender  of  Detroit  to  the  Federal  Government,  Mr.  May  continued 
to  hold  civil  and  military  offices.  He  was  the  first  chief  justice  of  the  court  of 
common  pleas,  marshal  of  the  territory,  justice  of  the  peace,  colonel  of  militia, 
etc.  His  body  is  buried  in  A.  D.  Frazer's  lot  in  Elmwood  cemetery,  Detroit. 
He  was  married  to  Margaret  Labadie,  September  30,  1797,  she  being  then  18 
years  of  age.  Their  eighth  child  Augusta  Caroline,  was  married  to  Alexander 
D.  Frazer,  by  the  Rev.  Gabriel  Richard  of  the  Roman  Catholic  church  at  Ste. 
Anne's  church  January  3,  1829,  she  being  then  15  years  and  2  month  old.  Alex- 
ander D.  Frazer  was  born  at  Dochgarroch,  parish  of  Inverness,  Scotland,  January 
20,  1796,  and  died  in  Detroit  in  1877." 


Another  instance  of  pohce  control  is  shown  by  a  document  entitled  "List  of 
inhabitants'  names  whose  chimneys  are  condemned,  and  such  as  are  in  a  danger- 
ous condition — agreeable  to  the  survey  made  September  14,  1791."  The  de- 
linquents are  as  follows: 

"Mr.  Burbank,  house  of  William  Macomb,  chimney  in  a  dangerous  state. 

"Joseph  Edge,  house  of  Mrs.  Baby,  chimney,  new,  condemned. 

"Thomas  Smith,  T.  Keeper,  his  own  house  chimney  in  a  dangerous  state. 

"Dr.  Holmes,  house  of  William  Macomb.  The  hearth  in  the  upper  room 

"J.  Whitehead,  house  of  James  Donaldson,  chimney  comdemned. 

"J.  Welch,  his«wn  house,  chimney  condemned  by  himself. 

"William  Scott,  his  own  house,  chimney  and  stovepipe  dangerous. 

"John  Cornwall,  house  of  Mr.  Douler,  chimney  condemned. 

"Lieutenant  Hill,  government  house,  chimney  in  kitchen  dangerous. 


"Rol)oi1  Goiiie,  house  of  William  Macomb,  fireplacp  in  room  dangerous. 

"Rev.  J.  Fritchet,  public  house,  chimney  dangerous. 

"Carsen,  soldier,  house  of  N.  Williams,  chimney  condemned. 

"Fife  major,  house  of  D.  Robertson,  chimney  condemned. 

"John  Martin,  his  own  house,  hearth  in  upper  room  dangerous. 

"House  in  back  street  occupied  by  a' soldier  and  owned  by  Joseph  F.  Jean, 
chimney  condemned. 

"Two  houses  in  back  street  occupied  by  soldiers  and  owned  by  government, 
chimney  condemned. 

"James  May,  0.  P." 

One  would  think  from  the  above  that  nearly  all  the  chimneys  in  town  were 
defective.  The  village  consisted  onh'  of  four  or  five  streets  running  east  and 
west,  located  between  the  present  southerly  line  of  Jefferson  Avenue  and  the 
northerly  line  of  Larned  Street  and  from  Griswold  Street  on  the  east  to  Wayne 
Street  on  the  west.  The  picket  line  had  been  extended  on  both  the  easterly  and 
westerly  sides  northwardly  to  include  the  fort,  which  was  situated  nearly  on  the 
site  of  the  postofRce  building,  but  the  land  between  the  fort  and  Larned  Street 
was  low,  the  little  creek  running  through  it,  and  not  fit  for  residences.  Nearly 
all  the  buildings  were  one  story  in  height  and  built  of  logs.  There  were,  however, 
some  two-story  buildings  as  will  appear  by  the  above  list  of  condemnations. 

The  houses  were  very  closely  huddled  together  and  there  were  very  few  vacant 
lots.  There  were  no  brick  or  stone  buildings  in  the  village.  There  was  an  en- 
gine house,  but  if  there  was  a  fire  apparatus  it  must  have  been  of  the  most  simple 
kind.  There  was  no  fire  department  and  if  a  building  should  catch  on  fire  the 
almost  inevitable  result  would  be  the  destruction  of  the  entire  village,  a  calamity 
that  actually  occurred  in  1805.  We  cannot  wonder,  then,  that  a  great  deal  of 
attention  was  paid  by  the  police  powers  to  the  matter  of  chimneys.  Stoves,  as 
we  know  the  term,  were  not  in  use  at  that  time.  They  had  been  invented  but  a 
few  years  before  this,  and  it  is  very  doubtful  if  one  was  ever  brought  to  Detroit 
before  the  coming  of  the  Americans  in  1796.  Every  house  had  its  fireplace  and 
sometimes  there  were  fireplaces  in  different  rooms  of  the  same  house.  Wood 
was  exclusively  used  for  fuel,  as  coal  was  unknown  at  that  date.  On  the  reverse 
of  the  above  quoted  documents  is  the  following  indorsement : 

"We  acknowledge  to  have  seen  the  enclosed  list  concerning  our  chimnies  and 
the  circular  letter  from  the  magistrate  concerning  them. 

"Detroit,  Sept.  20,  1791. 

"William  Macomb. 

"James  Donaldson. 

"William  Scott. 

"John  Martin. 

"William  and  David  Robertson. 

"Thomas  Smith. 


The  notice  referred  to  was  drawn  up  by  a  committee  of  prominent  citizens, 
but  whether  at  the  request  of  some  public  gathering,  or  of  the  military  depart- 
ment, or  of  their  own  motion,  cannot  now  be  determined.  The  notice  is  as 

"To  the  occupiers  of  those  houses  in  the  town  of  Detroit  whose  chimnies, 
according  to  the  late  survey,  stand  in  need  of  repair. 

"Gentlemen — You  will  see  ])y  the  enclosed  rejjort  that  thi?  cliimnies  of  your 


respective  houses  have  been  examined  in  conformity  to  the  regulations  of  the 
police  and  that  many,  though  not  dangerously  bad,  are  yet  in  want  of  repairs. 
You  will  tlierefore  please  order  that  the  repairs  necessary  to  render  them  sound 
and  sufficient  be  accomplished  betwixt  -  —  and  10th  October  next,  other- 
wise you  will  be  liable  to  the  penalties  annexed  to  the  regulations  in  that  behalf 

"We  are,  gentlemen,  your  humble  servants, 

"John  Askin,  J.  P. 
"George  Meldrum. 
"Alex.  Grant. 
"Geo.  Leith. 
"Geo.  Sharp. 
"  Wm.  Macomb. 

"Detroit,  19th  Sept.  1791." 

The  list  referred  to  is  among  these  old  records.  It  contains  a  numlier  of 
names  of  householders  of  that  day  not  found  in  other  places,  and  as  the  list  is 
interesting  it  will  be  given  in  full.  In  the  original  the  owners  and  tenants  are 
distinguished  by  a  numeral;  those  numbered  one  (1)  being  proprietors,  and  those 
numbered  two  (2)  being  tenants.     The  list  follows: 

"Report  of  the  chimneys  in  the  Town  of  Detroit,  agreeable  to  the  survey 
made  September  14,  1791,  by  Perot,  Wheaton,  Fraro  and  Cocillj'ard,  by  pro- 
ffession,  masons  and  carpenters. 

"Black  Dinah  (2)  kitchen  fireplace,  wants  repairs. 

"Mrs.  Bourbank  (2)  chimne.y  in  dangerous  condition. 

"Joseph  Edge  (2)  chimney  condemned  as  being  unfit  for  use. 

"Couteaur,  the  cooper,  (2)  chimney  wants  repairs. 

"Jacques  Pilquey  (l)  kitchen  fireplace  wants  repairs. 

"Thomas  Smith  (1)  kitchen  chimney  very  dangerous,  unfit  for  use. 

"Doctor  Holmes  (2)  kitchen  wants  repairs,  one  harth  in  the  upper  room  in  a 
very  dangerous  condition. 

"Provencal,  blk  smith  (1)  chimney  wants  repairs. 

"Joiui  Whitehead  (2)  chimney  condemned. 

"John  Welch  (1)  chimney  condemned. 

"William  Scott  (1)  kitchen  chimney  very  bad,  the  pipe  of  the  stove  only  iy2 
inches  from  the  woodwork. 

"John  Cornwell  (2)  chimney  in  bad  order,  mason  work  done  with  clay,  con- 

"Mathew  Dolsen  (1)  kitchen  chimney  wants  repairs. 

"Francois  Roucour  (])  kitchen  chimney  wants  repairs. 

"Augustin  Lafoy  (1)  kitchen  chimney  wants  repairs. 

"Lieut.  Hill  (2)  kitchen  chimne}'  in  a  dangerous  condition. 

"William  Hands  (2)  the  top  of  his  chimney  in  bad  order. 

"Walter  Roe  Esq.  (1)  kitchen  fireplace  wants  repairs. 

"George  Leith  Esq.  (1)  kitchen  fireplace  wants  repairs. 

"  Robert  Gouie  (2)  fireplace  in  the  room  very  dangerous. 

"George  Sharp,  Esq.  (1)  kitchen  fireplace  wants  repairs. 

"James  Allen  (2)  kitchen  fireplace  wants  repairs. 

"Rev.  Mr.  Fritchet  (1)  kitchen  fireplace  in  a  very  dangerous  condition. 

" Carscn,  soldier  (2)  brick  chimney  in  kitchen  condemned. 

"Jacque  Baby,  bake  house  chimney  wants  repair. 


"Geo.  MacDouoall  (2)  kitchen  chimney  wants  repair. 
"Mr.  Baby  (1)  kitchen  chimnej'  wants  repair. 
"WiUiam  Forsyth  (1)  kitchen  fireplace  wants  repair. 
"Thomas  Reynolds  (1)  kitchen  fireplace  wants  repair. 
"Mrs.  Ford  (2)  ditto  ditto 

"Lieut.  R.  Lewen  (2)  ditto  ditto 

"John  Askin  Esq.  (1)  ditto  ditto 

"Fife  Major  (2)  chimnej^  condemned. 
"William  Park  Esq.  (1)  kitchen  chimney  wants  repairs. 

"John  Martin  (1)  the  harth  in  the  upper  room  fronting  the  street  in  a  dan- 
gerous condition. 

"Three  houses  opposite  Doctor  Holmes,  occupied  by  soldiers,  the  chimneys 
all  in  bad  condition. 

"We,  the  subscribers,  having  duly  inspected  the  chimneys  in  the  Town  of 
Detroit,  have  found  and  do  declare  the  before  mentioned  chimneys  to  be  excep- 
tionable as  herein  stated. 
"Detroit  Sept.  15,  1791. 

"Louis  Perault. 
"Francois  Frero. 
"Alexis  Cerait. 
"Jno.  Wheaton. 
"James  May  0.  P." 

There  was  no  printing  press,  nor  any  method  Ijy  which  the  above  report 
could  be  readily  reproduced,  and  the  making  of  a  copy  of  it  for  each  delinquent 
was  quite  a  task — too  much  of  a  task,  in  fact,  to  be  undertaken  unless  it  became 
necessary.  In  order  to  avoid  such  a  work,  the  original  notice  and  report  was 
taken  to  each  of  the  persons  named  above,  and  each  signed  a  statement  that  he 
had  seen  the  original.  The  paper  was  then  sent  to  Lieutenant  Smith  by  the 
magistrates  and  the  entire  matter  certified  to  by  Walter  Roe. 

Mr.  Roe  was  a  lawyer  who  resided  at  that  time  in  Detroit  and  became  of 
considerable  local  importance.  After  1796  he  removed  to  the  Canadian  side  of 
the  river  and  ended  his  days  there. 

There  was  no  law  applicable  to  Detroit  which  would  permit  the  enforce- 
ment of  penalties  necessary  to  protect  the  place  against  fires.  The  examination 
and  report  of  the  magistrates  made  it  manifest  that  such  a  law  was  a  necessity, 
for  a  fire,  once  started,  would  destroy  the  village  in  short  order.  A  public  meet- 
ing was  called,  the  state  of  affairs  laid  before  the  citizens  and  a  memorial  addressed 
to  the  legislature  to  pass  laws  applicalile  to  the  situation.  This  memorial  was 
forwarded  to  Mr.  Smith,  who  presented  it  to  the  governor  at  Niagara. 

Governor  Simcoe  assembled  the  first  provincial  parliament  of  Upper  Canada 
at  Newark  (Niagara)  September  17,  1792,  and  a  few  days  later  the  petition  of 
the  citizens  of  Detroit  was  laid  before  the  lower  house.  The  first  information  we 
have  on  the  subject  is  derived  from  a  letter  of  Mr.  Smith's,  dated  September 
24,  1792.     He  writes: 

"Your  petition  from  the  merchants  has  been  handed  to  the  governor.  Mr. 
Macomb  and  I  cannot  yet  answer  the  merchants'  letter  formally.  When  we  are 
certain  as  to  the  result  you  shall  hear.  I  fear,  however,  from  the  silence  observed 
on  the  occasion  of  the  memorial  that  it  does  not  augur  well.  I  am  working  day 
and  night  to  effect  a  police  Ijill  for  you  in  such  a  manner  as  to  prevent  and  obviate 
all  your  difficulties  and  my  struggles  shall  not  be  wanting  to  bring  it  to  maturity." 


The  chief  difficulty  was  to  so  word  the  text  of  the  law  that  while  it  would  be 
applied  to  Detroit,  it  should  not  mention  that  place  by  name.  The  old  trouble 
of  passing  laws  for  the  government  of  the  territory  they  were  wrongfully  in  pos- 
session of  stOl  bothered  the  Canadians,  and  came  to  the  surface  on  this  occasion. 
While  the  police  bill  was  being  discussed,  other  matters  of  general  importance 
came  before  the  assembly.     On  the  24th  Smith  wrote. 

"We  have  done  little  as  yet;  one  grand  bill  for  the  general  settlement  of  the 
laws  of  the  land  will,  I  expect,  pass,  and  we  have  passed  a  jury  bill  in  general 
terms  through  one  house,  with  some  difficulty — a  bill  to  enable  two  justices  to 
try  40s  without  appeal,  is  in  great  forwardness — ways  and  means  seem  the  great 
difficulty.  One  or  two  committees  for  that  purpose  have  proved  nearly  abortive. 
I  proposed  that  every  land  holder  should  pay  one  farthing  per  acre  per  annum 
for  all  lands  above  200  acres,  which  I  conceive  would  not  burden  the  settler,  but 
the  court  party  and  the  popular  party  were  both  against  me,  and  I  stood  alone 
in  the  house.  However,  I  am  still  of  opinion  that  a  land  tax,  whether  it  goes 
by  that  name  or  not,  must  eventually  take  place.  I  act  from  principle,  altho' 
I  value  the  world's  opinion  somewhat.  I  cannot  conceive  that  one  farthing 
raised  by  the  house  of  assembly  can  be  deemed  onerous,  when  the  magistrates 
in  quarter  session  will  probably  have  power  to  raise  much  greater  sums." 


On  the  15th  of  October  parliament  was  prorogued.  The  acts  passed  at  this 
session  are  contained  in  eight  chapters  comprising  five  pages  of  printed  matter. 
Each  chapter  would  be  considered  a  separate  act  as  our  laws  are  published.  The 
acts  were  as  follows: 

First,  repealing  the  ancient  law  of  the  Dominion  which  rcciuired  the  use  of 
Canadian  or  French  laws  for  the  government  of  the  province. 

Second,  establishing  trial  by  jury. 

Third,  establishing  a  system  of  weights  and  measures. 

Fourth,  abolishing  summary  proceedings  in  court  actions  under  ten  pounds. 

Fifth,  an  act  to  prevent  accidents  by  fire. 

Sixth,  an  act  for  the  speedy  recovery  of  small  debts. 

Seventh,  an  act  to  regulate  tolls  in  mills. 

Eighth,  an  act  for  building  a  court  house  and  jail  in  every  district. 

There  is  no  doubt  that  some  of  these  laws  were  passed  at  the  instance  of 
Detroit  persons  and  were  applicable  to  Detroit  more  than  any  other  place. 

The  first  chapter  sets  forth  that  the  old  Canadian  laws  were  adapted  to  the 
French,  but  that  since  the  Dominion  was  divided  and  Upper  Canada  formed,  the 
number  of  Englishmen  exceeded  the  number  of  Frenchmen  and  the  laws  should 
be  altered  to  meet  the  new  condition.  This  change  in  nationality  certainly  had 
not  taken  place  in  Upper  Canada  if  Detroit  was  excluded,  for  that  place  was  the 
most  important  above  Montreal  and  the  great  influx  of  English  people  had  been 
at  that  place.  It  may  be  noted  that  chapter  five,  "an  act  to  prevent  accidents 
by  fire  in  this  province,"  was  passed  at  the  request  of  Detroit  citizens.  The 
substance  of  this  act  was  that — 

"It  shall  be  lawful  for  the  magistrates  of  each  and  every  district  in  this  pro- 
vince, in  quarter  sessions  assembled,  to  make  such  orders  and  regulations  for  the 
prevention  of  accidental  fires  within  the  same,  as  to  them  shall  seem  meet  and 
necessary,  and  to  appoint  firemen  or  other  officers  for  the  prevention  of  accidental 
fires,  or  for  the  purpose  of  extinguishing  the  same,  when  such  may  happen,  and 


to  make  such  orders  and  regulations  as  to  them  may  seem  fit  or  necessary,  in 
any  town  or  towns,  or  other  place  or  places  in  each  district  within  this  province, 
where  they  may  be  40  storehouses  and  dwelling  houses  within  the  space  of  half 
a  mile  square." 

The  assembly  might  as  well  have  mentioned  Detroit  by  name  in  this  bi  1,  for 
there  was  no  other  place  to  which  the  law  could  be  applied,  but  here  again  it 
became  necessary  to  pass  a  general  law  in  order  to  avoid  openly  claiming;  Det  oit 
as  a  British  possession. 

The  act  to  regulate  the  toll  to  be  taken  at  mills  was  prepared  in  the  interest 
of  the  millowners  of  Detroit.  It  permitted  the  taking  of  one-twelfth  of  the  grain 
as  toll  for  the  grinding,  thus  regulating  the  amount  for  the  province. 

Chapter  Eight  changed  the  name  of  the  district  of  Hesse  to  the  Western  Dis- 
trict, and  provided  that  "a  gaol  and  court  house"  should  be  built  "as  near  the 
present  court  house  as  conveniently  may  be."  This  phrase  is  somewhat  uncer- 
tain, because  there  was,  at  this  time,  no  court  house  in  Detroit  and  the  jail  was 
located  near  the  corner  of  Wayne  and  Larned  streets.  It  was  not  the  intention 
to  erect  public  buildings  in  Detroit  and  under  this  act  the  court  house  and  jail 
were  subsequently  erected  in  Sandwich. 

What  parliament  did  not  do  at  its  first  session  is  quite  as  interesting  to  learn 
as  what  it  did  do.     A  few  days  before  the  adjournment  Mr.  Smith  wrote: 

"I  have  had  several  confabs  with  the  chief  about  the  continuation  of  the 
court  of  common  pleas  (in  Detroit)  but  I  find  the  law  will  admit  of  it,  for  reasons 
hereafter  to  be  explained  to  you." 

It  would  appear  from  this  that  there  was  doubt  as  to  the  propriety  of  main- 
taining this  court  on  the  North  side  of  the  river.  It  certainly  was  continued  in 
Detroit  for  a  period  somewhat  later  than  this.     He  continues: 

"The  bill  for  40s  which  I  brought  into  the  house  will,  I  hope,  obviate  the 
difficulty  you  mention  of  debtors  under  £10  not  being  subject  to  imprisonment." 

It  will  be  remembered  that  for  many  years  later  than  this,  imprisonment  for 
debt  was  the  proper  way  of  collecting  accounts  and  that  the  first  process  in  an 
action  for  debt  was  the  capias. 


Already  were  preparations  being  made  for  the  meeting  of  the  second  session. 
These  preparations  consisted  in  formulating  bills  which  were  rejected  at  the  first 
session,  to  be  introduced  in  the  second  session,  that  would  suit  Smith's  constit- 
uents.    His  letter  of  October  2,  1792  contains  the  following: 

"  I  proposed  a  bill  to  enable  the  magistrates  in  quarter  sessions  to  levy  county 
rates,  but  it  has  been  thrown  out.  I  have  been  of  opinion  also  that  the  magis- ' 
trates  in  quarter  sessions  should  choose  the  different  county,  town  and  parish 
officers,  but  that,  it  seems,  "cannot  succeed  either,  most  of  the  members  being  for 
a  town  meeting  and  that  these  officers  should  be  elective.  However,  as  I  con- 
ceive these  meetings  to  have  been  the  cause  of  the  late  unhappy  rebellion  fthe 
Revolutionary  warj  and  must  always  be  attended  with  riot  and  confusion,  it  does 
not  meet  my  ideas.  I  think  the  majesty  of  the  people  should  never  be  called 
together,  but  to  choose  their  representatives  for  the  house  of  assembly,  and  per- 
haps to  assemble  them  without  an  instrument  from  the  governor  may  be  illegal, 
and  to  force  that  instrument  from  him  liy  law  may  be  an  infringement  of  his 

Here  is  shown  the  "spirit  of  '7(5"  cropping  out  in  the  Canadian  settlements. 


Tne  town  meeting  was  the  cause  of  all  the  trouble  that  arose  between  the  colonies 
and  Great  Britain,  and  if  it  was  once  introduced  into  Canada,  that  colony,  like 
the  others,  would  soon  be  lost  to  the  mother  country.     He  continues: 

"I  have  been  working  a  hundred  ways  to  get  your  fire  bill  passed,  and  this 
day  I  have  brought  something  into  the  house  which,  I  think,  will  succeed  and 
answer  the  purpose.  It  is  that  whenever  there  shall  be  found  in  any  space  of 
half  a  mile  square  40  houses  therein,  it  shall  be  lawful,  for  the  magistrate  in 
quarter  sessions  to  make  regulations  for  the  prevention  of  fire  in  that  place.  The 
great  difficulty  started  in  mentioning  the  name  of  the  Town  of  Detroit:  however, 
as  the  proclamation  unquestionably,  in  my  opinion,  puts  you  in  the  county  of 
Kent,  I  trust  you  will  find  no  difficulty,  as  the  bill  is  framed  merely  to  secure 

On  other  occasions  the  independence  of  members  of  this  first  parliament  an- 
noyed the  court  party  and,  of  course,  Mr.  Smith,  who  represented  the  party. 
He  writes  on  October  2d: 

"Our  house  of  assembly  for  the  most  part  have  violent  leveling  principles, 
which  are  totally  different  from  the  ideas  I  have  been  educated  with.  The 
neighboring  states  are  too  often  brought  in  as  patterns  and  models,  which  I 
neither  approve  or  countenance — I  think  modesty  should  be  the  characteristic 
of  our  first  assembly.  I  conceive  it  prudent,  political  and  grateful  and  I  am  con- 
fident the  contrary  behavior  won't  succeed  to  do  the  country  any  good.  What- 
ever may  be  the  future  prospects  of  designing  men,  we  cannot,  at  present,  exist 
without  the  assistance  of  Great  Britain.  She  has  ever  shown  herself  a  foster 
mother  to  her  colonies  and  any  procedure  which  I  conceive  tends  to  divide  the 
interests  of  the  parent  kingdom  and  all  her  colonies,  I  will  oppose  with  all  my 

Most  of  Mr.  Smith's  constituents  lived  on  the  American  side  of  the  Detroit 
River  and  it  is  possible  that  if  this  letter  had  been  made  public  at  the  time,  a 
number  of  his  adherents  would  have  been  displeased  with  his  expressions,  but  in 
the  absence  of  newspapers  and  reporters  he  was  safe  for  the  time  being.  As 
there  was  never  a  second  parliamentary  election  in  Detroit,  Mr.  Smith  lost  no 
votes  here  on  account  of  this  letter,  or  of  others  that  he  wrote  on  political  topics. 
He  had  persistently  argued  in  favor  of  a  land  tax,  even  against  his  own  material 
interests,  for  he  was  a  large  landowner.  On  this  subject  of  the  proposed  land 
tax,  he  wrote  in  his  letter  of  October  20,  1792: 

"I  will  certainly  be  acquitted  for  having  proposed  a  land  tax  having  at  the 
very  time  a  petition  before  the  governor  and  council  in  the  name  of  my  father 
and  myself  for  6400  acres,  which  is  since  secured,  or  rather  ordered  in  council. 
This  circumstance  will  be  the  strongest  proof  that  I  have  acted  from  principle 
and  should  malicious  reports  be  spread,  I  beg  you  will  promulgate  my  sentiments, 
situation  and  concern  relative  to  the  said  land  business.  As  to  news  here,  we 
have  none,  not  even  a  scandalous  story.  I  expect  you  will  be  well  prepared  with 
memoranda  for  me  in  the  spring,  relative  to  what  amendments  you  want  in  the 
present  laws." 

The  Canadians  felt  themselves  insecure  in  the  possession  of  Detroit  and  the 
feeling  of  insecurity  was  growing  day  by  day,  as  the  States  were  complaining  of 
the  injustice  of  its  retention.  To  be  sure,  Harmar  and  St.  Clair  had  advanced 
against  the  Indians  with  two  armies,  apparently  well  equipped  to  combat  with 
savages,  and  both  armies  had  been  routed  and  defeated,  but  the  defeat  was  not 
a  sign  that  the  government  was  vanquished.     It  was  apparent  to  the  English 


government  and  to  the  Canadian  and  to  the  Indians  themselves  that  the  United 
States  troops  would  be  victorious  in  the  end  and  that  Detroit  must,  sooner  or 
later,  be  turned  over  to  the  States.  The  military  commandant  at  Detroit  com- 
plained again  and  again  that  the  fortifications  could  not  stand  the  attack  of  even 
a  small  army  and  that  if  the  Americans  advanced  beyond  the  ]\Iiami  (Maumee) 
the  British  troops  might  as  well  evacuate  the  town,  for  they  would  be  unalile  to 
hold  it. 

It  is  with  Detroit  alone  that  we  are  dealing  now,  and  the  formation  of  Wayne's 
army,  the  attempt  of  our  government  to  negotiate  a  treaty  with  the  Indians,  the 
failure  to  effect  the  treaty,  the  advance  of  Wayne  through  the  wilderness,  the 
attempt  of  the  British  to  stay  his  advance  by  building  a  fort  on  the  ^Vlaumee  and 
by  aiding  the  Indians,  the  battle  of  Fallen  Timbers  and  the  rout  and  destruction 
of  the  Indians,  will  be  narrated  in  another  chapter. 


At  this  time  there  was  an  embassy  in  England  negotiating  with  that  country 
to  make  a  new  treaty  which  should  carry  into  effect  the  treaty  of  1783,  and  which 
would  result  in  the  evacuation  of  the  United  States  posts  by  British  soldiers. 
This  new  treaty  was  not  perfected  until  1794  and  in  the  meantime  everything 
at  Detroit  which  indicated  the  leaning  of  any  citizen  towards  American  interests 
was  looked  upon  with  suspicion  and  was  likely  to  be  followed  with  imprisonment. 

The  American  envoys  to  the  Indians,  who  sought  to  bring  about  a  peace  with 
them  before  Wayne  began  his  march  through  the  woods,  were  not  permitted  to 
visit  Detroit,  nor  were  they  permitted  to  cross  the  Detroit  River  at  its  mouth, 
and  not  being  able  to  effect  a  meeting  with  the  Indians  on  the  Canadian  side, 
they  were  compelled  to  return  to  Congress  fruitless. 

Strangers  at  Detroit  were  watched  and  their  actions  commented  upon.  On 
April  2,  1793  one  of  the  justices  was  approached  by  a  citizen,  John  Miller,  who 
asked  permission  to  lay  a  complaint  before  him.  The  complaint  was  substan- 
tialh'  as  follows:  Willam  Erwin,  "a  man  who  lately  came  from  the  American 
states,"  formed  the  acquaintance  of  ]\Iiller  and  tried  to  persuade  him  to  leave 
Detroit  for  the  States,  where  he  would  make  a  gentleman  of  him.  He  asked 
Miller  to  go  around  the  works  (fortifications)  with  him  and,  as  Miller  refused, 
Erwin  left  the  home  at  night  and  spent  four  or  five  nights  in  making  investiga- 
tions. He  told  Miller  a  large  army  would  soon  come  against  the  place.  Appar- 
ently the  story,  however  preposterous  it  was,  was  believed  by  the  magistrate  and 
a  warrant  was  issued  for  the  apprehension  of  Erwin.  The  acquaintanceship 
between  Miller  and  Erwin  commenced  on  the  10:h  of  March  and  as  the  complaint 
was  not  made  until  the  3rd  of  April,  Erwin  had  an  abundance  of  time  to  make  a 
detailed  plan  of  the  village  and  fortifications  and  leave  for  the  States  before  the 
warrant  for  his  detention  was  issued. 


An  event  of  considerable  local  importance  occurred  at  this  time.  This  was  a 
visit  to  Detroit  of  Gov.  John  Graves  Simcoe.  The  threats  of  certain  hotheads 
among  the  Americans  to  attack  Niagara  and  Detroit,  induced  Governor  Simcoe 
to  visit  the  place  in  order  to  ascertain  the  best  means  of  opening  an  uninter- 
rupted coinmunication  between  the  two  posts  named.  Governor  Simcoe  and 
suite  left  Niagara  in  February,  1793,  accompanied  by  Capt.  Joseph  Brant,  the 
great  chief  of  the  Six  Nations,  and  a  liody  of  Indians.     On  the  18th  of  Februar}- 


he  reached  Dolson's  on  the  River  Tranche  (Thames)  and  was  received  by  the 
entire  settlement.  Upon  their  departure  they  followed  this  river  to  Lake  St. 
Clair,  and  thence  down  the  lake  and  Detroit  River  to  a  point  opposite  Detroit. 
Crossing  the  river,  the  party  was  received  by  the  garrison  and  citizens  of  Detroit. 
Simcoe  examined  the  fortifications  and  reviewed  the  troops,  the  Twenty-fourth 
Regiment,  and  remained  in  the  place  until  February  2oth,  when  he  set  out  upon 
his  return  to  Niagara.  It  is  said  that  on  his  return  he  stopped  an  entire  day  on 
the  site  of  the  present  city  of  London,  Ontario,  examining  the  place  and  sur- 
roundings with  the  idea  of  making  it  the  seat  of  government,  or  capital,  of  Upper 


The  second  session  of  parliament  met  at  Newark  (Niagara)  May  31,  1793, 
and  continued  until  July  9th  of  the  same  3-ear.  The  acts  passed  at  this  session 
were  as  follows: 

1.  An  act  for  the  regulation  of  the  militia. 

2.  An  act  for  the  election  of  parish  and  town  officers. 

3.  An  act  for  laying  and  collecting  assessments  and  rates. 

4.  An  act  for  laying  out  and  keeping  in  repair  highways  and  roads. 

5.  An  act  to  confirm  and  make  valid  certain  marriages  heretofore  contracted 
in  the  country  now  comprised  within  the  Province  of  Upper  Canada,  and  to  pro- 
vide for  the  future  solemnization  of  marriages  within  the  same. 

6.  An  act  to  fix  the  times  and  places  for  holding  courts  of  quarter  sessions 
of  the  peace. 

7.  An  act  to  prevent  the  further  introduction  of  slaves. 

8.  An  act  to  establish  a  court  of  probate,  and  also  a  surrogate  court  in  every 

9.  An  act  to  authorize  the  lieutenant-governor  to  appoint  commissioners. 

10.  An  act  to  establish  a  fund  for  salaries  of  the  legislative  council  members. 

11.  Providing  bounty  for  destroying  wolves. 

12.  Appointment  of  returning  officers. 

13.  Payment  of  salaries  of  members  of  the  house  of  assembly. 

Only  a  few  of  these  acts  were  in  any  way  interesting  to  the  people  of  Detroit. 

The  first  act  adopted  by  parliament  in  its  second  session  at  Newark  (Niagara) 
in  1793  was  relative  to  the  militia.  While  by  its  terms  applicable  to  the  entire 
district,  it  was  probably  confined,  in  its  operations,  to  the  country  South  of  the 
Detroit  River.  Lists  of  militia  living  on  that  side  of  the  river  occasionally  appear, 
but  if  any  persons  were  enrolled  on  the  Detroit  side,  the  lists  have  yet  to  be  un- 

The  second  act  is  of  more,  local  importance.  Bj'  the  terms  of  this  act,  a  pop- 
ular election  was  to  be  held  on  the  first  Monday  of  March  in  every  year,  at  which 
time  there  were  to  be  chosen  a  town  clerk,  two  assessors,  one  collector,  from  two 
to  six  overseers  of  highways,  a  poundkeeper  and  two  wardens.  This  election 
was  to  be  called  by  any  two  justices  of  the  peace  in  the  district.  The  passage  of 
this  act  clearly  indicates  that  the  New  England  idea  of  self  government  was  in- 
stilled in  the  Canadians  and  that  the  court  party  represented  by  Mr.  Smith,  was 
unable  to  control  the  other  members  of  the  assembly.  This  bill,  or  one  similarly 
worded,  had  been  introduced  in  the  first  session  and  had  failed  of  passage,  being 
violently  opposed  by  Mr.  Smith,  as  indicated  in  his  letter  written  on  that  oc- 


By  the  terms  of  this  act,  if  any  person  elected  to  an  office  refused  to  accept 
the  same  for  seven  days  after  being  notified,  he  should  pay  forty  shillings  as  a 
fine  for  his  refusal.  The  law  for  the  collection  of  taxes  was  not  a  land  tax,  as  we 
understand  the  term,  but  each  individual  was  taxed  in  proportion  to  the  amount 
of  property  he  had.  The  entire  list  of  inhabitants  was  to  be  divided,  by  the 
assessors,  into  eight  groups,  the  lowest  group  including  only  those  whose  propertj^ 
amounted  to  fifty  pounds  or  less,  and  each  group  in  the  scale  including  citizens 
who?e  property  exceeded  the  next  lower  group  by  fifty  pounds,  so  that  the  eighth 
group  included  all  having  property  over  four  hundred  pounds.  A  flat  tax  of 
two  shillings  six  pence  was  levied  on  each  one  in  the  first  class,  and  the  amount 
increased  in  each  class  to  twenty  shillings  in  the  eighth  class. 

The  justices  of  the  peace  in  quarter  sessions  were  directed  to  appoint  a  treas- 
urer to  hold  and  disburse  the  taxes  collected.  This  act  also  provided  that  mem- 
bers of  the  assembly  should  each  receive  as  wages  the  sum  of  ten  shillings  for 
each  day  that  they  were  engaged  in  attendance  in  the  house. 

Every  freeholder  was  compelled  to  work  at  least  twelve  days  in  each  year  in 
maintaining  and  repairing  roads,  and  eight  hours  of  labor  was  fixed  as  a  day's 


The  fifth  act,  relative  to  marriages,  was  of  the  utmost  importance  to  Detroit, 
and  the  measure  was  introduced  and  urged  through  the  assembly  at  the  request 
of  Detroit  citizens. 

There  was  no  minister  of  the  Church  of  England  in  Detroit  at  this  time.  On 
some  occasions  a  chaplain  would  be,  for  a  short  time,  attached  to  the  garrison, 
but  except  on  these  occasions,  no  valid  marriages  had  ever  been  solemnized  by 
the  protestants  at  Detroit.  The  marriage  ceremony  was  constantly  being  per- 
formed bj'  the  commanding  officer  of  the  garrison.  If  he  declined  to  act,  it  was 
performed  by  the  adjutant.  Sometimes  the  lieutenant-governor  acted.  All  of 
these  marriages  were  clearly  illegal,  and  an  attempt  was  made  to  pass  a  law  that 
should  legalize  the  past  marriages  and  provide  for  future  marriages.  On  the 
occasion  of  this  act.  Governor  Simcoe  wrote: 

"The  general  cry  of  persons  of  all  conditions  for  the  passing  of  the  marriage 
bill  was  such  that  I  could  no  longer  withhold,  under  the  pretense  of  consulting 
any  opinion  at  home,  having  already  availed  myself  of  that  excuse  for  delay." 

The  act  legalized  all  marriages  performed  "before  any  magistrate,  or  com- 
manding officer  of  a  fort,  or  adjutant,  or  surgeon  of  a  regiment,  acting  as  chajj- 
lain,  or  any  person  in  any  public  office  or  employment,  before  the  passage  of  this 
act."  To  take  advantage  of  this  act,  it  was  necessary  for  the  husband  and  wife 
to  make  oath  of  their  marriage,  giving  the  date  of  tJie  same,  and  the  dates  of  the 
birth  of  their  children,  if  any,  and  this  statement  was  to  be  recorded  by  the  clerk 
of  the  peace.  That  such  a  record  was  made,  we  are  certain,  for  there  exist  copies 
of  one  or  two  of  the  certificates,  but  a  diligent  search  has  failed  to  disclose  the 
record  itself. 

Justices  of  the  peace  were  authorized  to  perform  the  marriage  ceremonj'  in 
case  no  protestant  minister  resided  within  eighteen  miles  of  the  residence  of  the 
persons,  and  the  justice  was  directed  to  keep  a  record  of  such  marriages. 

Chapter  Six  fixed  the  time  of  holding  quarter  sessions  of  the  peace  for  the 
Western  District  in  the  town  of  Detroit,  on  the  second  Tuesday  of  Jul}',  October, 
Jaiuiary,  and  April  in  each  year,  and  a  court  of  .special  sessions  of  the  peace  was 


to  be  held  yearly,  on  the  second  Tuesday  of  July,  at  Mackinac.  The  court  of 
quarter  sessions  was  a  court  composed  of  all  the  justices  of  the  district,  sitting 
en  banc. 


An  act  to  prevent  the  further  introduction  of  slaves  was  passed  as  Chapter 
Seven.  The  law  permitting  the  importation  of  negro  slaves  was  repealed. 
Slavery  was  not  abolished,  but  in  order  to  prevent  a  continuation  of  the  system, 
it  was  provided  that  children  born  of  slave  mothers  should  abide  with  the  master 
of  the  mother  until  the  child  was  twenty-five  j^ears  of  age,  and  should  then  be  free. 

There  were  a  large  number  of  slaves  in  and  about  Detroit,  and  the  agitation 
of  freeing  them  excited  their  owners.  It  was  necessary  to  make  some  satisfac- 
tory explanation  of  the  proposed  law  to  quiet  the  fears  of  the  slaveholders  of 
Detroit,  and  Mr.  Smith  explained  in  a  letter  of  June  25,  1793: 

"We  have  made  no  law  to  free  the  slaves.  All  those  who  have  been  brought 
into  the  province,  or  purchased  under  any  authority  legally  exercised,  are  slaves 
to  all  intents  and  purposes,  and  are  secured  as  property  by  a  certain  act  of  par- 
liament. They  are  determined,  however,  to  have  a  bill  about  slaves,  part  of 
which,  I  think,  is  well  enough,  part  most  iniquitous.  I  wash  my  hands  of  it. 
A  free  man  who  is  married  to  a  slave — his  heir  is  declared  by  this  act  to  be  a 
slave.     Fye!     Fye!     The  laws  of  man  and  God  cannot  authorize  it. 

"A  marriage  bill — a  wolf  bill — a  parish  officer  bill — a  probate  bill — a  com- 
mon pleas  bill — and  some  others  have  gone  through  the  house." 

It  is  well  to  note  that  the  terms  of  the  emancipation  bill  as  here  outlined.  The 
ordinance  of  1787  provided  that  there  should  be  no  slavery  in  the  Northwest 
Territory.  As  soon  as  Detroit  was  separated  from  Canada  and  was  placed  under 
the  government  of  the  United  States,  the  Canadian  slaves  began  to  cross  the 
river  in  the  hope  of  reaching  freedom.  This  law  of  Canada  and  Jay's  treaty  of 
1794  were  brought  into  play  to  force  a  return  of  these  fugitive  slaves,  and  both 
acts  ran  counter  to  the  ordinance  of  1787.  It  will  be  some  time  before  we  reach 
the  period  of  Judge  Augustus  Brevoort  Woodward,  Michigan's  first  great  chief 
justice,  to  whom  these  fugitive  slave  questions  were  submitted,  and  just  such  a 
man  was  needed  to  define  clearly  the  meaning  of  these  laws,  and  to  construe 
them  in  conformity  with  each  otlier. 

On  the  occasion  of  the  passage  of  this  act,  Governor  Siracoe  wrote: 

"The  greatest  resistance  was  to  the  slave  bill,  many  plausible  arguments  of 
the  dearness  of  labor  and  the  difficulty  of  obtaining  servants  to  cultivate  lands 
was  brought  forward.  Some  possessing  negroes,  knowing  that  it  was  very  ques- 
tionable whether  any  subsisting  law  did  not  authorize  slavery,  and  having  piu-- 
chased  several  taken  in  war  by  the  Indians,  at  small  prices,  wished  to  reject  the 
bill  entirely.  Others  were  desirous  to  supply  themselves  by  allowing  the  im- 
portation for  two  years.  The  matter  was  finally  settled  by  undertaking  to  secure 
the  property  already  obtained  upon  condition  that  an  immediate  stop  should  be 
put  to  the  importation,  and  that  slavery  should  be  gradually  abolished." 

The  census  of  1782  shows  that  there  were  then  179  slaves  in  Detroit  and  that 
they  had  nearly  doubled  in  number  since  the  census  of  1773 — nine  years.  It  is 
safe  to  conclude  that  in  1793  there  were  more  than  three  hundred  slaves  in  the 
Detroit  district  and  there  was  great  reason  to  dislike  any  law  which  would  set 
them  free  and  thus  deprive  their  owners  of  so  much  property.     An  inventory  of 

228  ■  CITY  OF  DETROIT 

the  property  of  John  Askin,  made  January  1,  17S7,  includes  the  following  list  of 

slaves  owned  by  him: 

Jupiter,  a  negro  man £150 

Tom,  a  negro  man 140 

George,  a  negro  boy 90 

Sam,  a  Panis — blacksmith 150 

Susannah,  a  wench,  and  two  children 130 

Mary,  a  wench 100 

Total £760 


A  court  of  probate  for  the  province  of  Upper  Canada  was  authorized  by 
Chapter  Eight  and  over  this  court  the  governor,  or  lieutenant-governor,  was  to 
preside,  but  the  governor  was  authorized  to  appoint  "an  official  principal  of  said 
court"  and  a  register  and  other  officers  to  carry  it  on.  This  court  could  probate 
wills  and  grant  administration  on  estates  of  intestates. 

In  addition  to  tne  provisions  in  Chapter  Eight  of  the  act  for  a  court  of  pro- 
bate, provision  was  also  made  for  the  organization  of  a  surrogate  court  in  each  of 
the  four  districts  of  the  province  and  for  the  appointment  of  a  surrogate  to  preside 
as  judge  in  each  district.  This  court,  also,  could  probate  wills  and  issue  letters 
of  administration.  When  a  deceased  person  left  property  in  any  district  other 
than  that  in  which  he  resided,  the  estate  was  to  be  probated  in  the  court  of  probate 
only  and  not  in  any  surrogate  court. 

The  judge  and  register  were  to  receive  fees  for  services  in  connection  with  the 
probate  of  estates,  as  follows:  for  seal  to  probate  of  will  where  the  estate  was 
three  hundred  pounds  or  under,  sixteen  shillings;  if  under  one  thousand  pounds 
it  should  be  one  pound;  and  if  over  two  thousand  pounds  it  should  be  two  pounds. 
Seal  to  any  other  instrument,  thirteen  shillings  four  pence;  caveat,  six  shillings 
eight  pence;  inventory,  the  same,  and  citation,  three  shillings  four  pence. 

The  fees  of  the  register  in  the  same  cases  were  as  follows:  seal  to  probate  of 
will  in  all  cases,  six  shillings  eight  pence;  seal  to  any  other  instrument,  three 
shillings  four  pence;  filing  caveat  and  inventory,  same  fee;  citation,  one  shilling; 
collating  will,  six  shillings  eight  pence;  drawing  bond,  same  amount;  searching 
register,  one  shilling  each  year;  for  copj'ing  each  page  of  eighteen  lines,  six  words 
in  each,  one  shiUing. 

The  fee  system  was  carried  on  in  our  own  court  of  probate  for  many  j-ears, 
under  somewhat  the  same  form  as  above  mentioned. 

Chapter  Eleven,  which  provided  for  the  destruction  of  wolves  and  the  pay- 
ment of  a  bounty  for  the  same,  contains  a  provision  that  was  applicable  to  Detroit, 
and  which  was  possibly  inserted  only  because  Detroit  was  in  the  Western  district 
and  consequently  should  have  been  excluded  from  the  effect  of  all  Canadian  laws. 

The  act,  after  providing  for  bounties  for  the  killing  of  wolves  in  the  province, 
contains  the  following:  "Provided  always,  that  this  act  shall  not  extend,  nor 
be  construed  to  extend,  to  the  Western  district  of  this  province,  nor  have  any 
force  or  operation  whatever  therein." 


The  last  of  the  thirteen  acts  or  chapters  pertains  to  the  establishment  of  a 
fund  for  the  payment  of  salaries  to  the  members  of  the  legislature.     This  fund 


was  to  be  raised  by  means  of  a  license  to  sell  liquors.  Every  person  keeping  a 
house  of  entertainment  or  selling  liquors,  was  compelled  to  take  out  a  license  and 
pay  therefor  two  pounds  sixteen  shillings,  and  to  have  written  or  printed  over 
the  door  of  his  house  the  words  "  Licensed  to  sell  wine  and  other  spiritous  liquors." 
He  should  also  enter  into  a  bond  to  keep  a  decent  and  orderly  house.  A  failure 
to  comply  with  these  conditions  was  punishable  with  a  fine  of  five  shillings,  "to  be 
recovered  before  any  justice  of  the  peace,"  one  half  of  the  fine  to  be  paid  to  the 

It  was  not  long  before  this  act  was  called  into  operation  in  Detroit.  The  fol- 
lowing correspondence  will  fully  explain  itself,  except  that  the  complaining 
witness  was  Antoine  Dequindre,  to  whom  had  been  given  the  cognomen  of  Dag- 
niaux,  as  it  appears  here  and  in  other  places. 

"Detroit,  31st  December,  1794. 
"Sir:     I  am  directed  by  the  magistrates  for  the  Western  District  to  forward 
the  subjoined  case,  with  a  request  that  you  will  favor  them  with  your  opinion 
thereon,  as  the  issue  awaits  your  determination.     I  have  the  honor  to  be, 
"Sir  " 

"Your  most  obedient  and  very  humble  servant, 
"W.  Roe, 
"Clk.  Peace, 
"Western  District. 
"John  White  E^sq. 
"Atty-Gen.,  Etc.,  Etc. 



"On  information  against  deft,  for  retailing  and  selling  one  quart  of  rum  on 
20th.  inst.,  and  another  on  21st.  inst.  without  license. 
"The  fact  proved  on  oath  of  Dagniaux. 

"Query.  Is  the  defendant  punishable  for  so  doing?  If  so,  under  what  act, 
and  to  what  amount? 

"W.  R.,  C.  P." 
The  reply  of  the  attorney-general  was  as  follows: 

Niagara,  Jany.  19,  1794. 
(Evidently  misdated  for  1795). 
"The  attorney-general  laments  that  he  is  not  able  to  give  the  magistrates  the 
information  they  desire.  Notwithstanding  he  was  the  framer  of  the  Act,  he  has 
scarcely  a  vestige  of  it  in  his  recollection,  owing  to  the  multiplicity  of  business 
that  he  had  to  engage  his  attention  during  the  session.  And  the  Acts  being 
taken  to  Lower  Canada  for  the  signature  of  the  late  Chief  Justice  (as  speaker  of 
the  L.  Council),  whose  immediate  departure  after  the  prorogation  occasioned 
that  omission,  he  cannot  refer  to  the  Act  in  question  to  enable  him  to  answer 
the  cases.  The  basis  upon  which  he  drew  it  was  the  26th.  of  G.  2  c.  31,  which 
regulates  the  manner  of  licensing  public  houses  in  England  (and  was  to  amend 
and  inlarge  the  G.  2d.  C.  28,  probably  to  be  found  in  Burns'  J.)  by  which  any 
magistrate  is  enabled  to  summon  upon  suspicion — and  is  enabled  to  convict  on 
the  oath  of  one  creditable  witness.  The  A.  G.  conceives  that  (because  the  natm-e 
of  the  offence  demands  a  summary  conviction)  he  adopted  the  rule  of  the  English 
law — if  it  is  otherwise  it  must  have  been  altered  by  the  wisdom  of  the  Houses^ 


Wliile  writing  this  lie  recollects  that  ]\Ir.  Macomb  is  possessed  of  the  act,  and  he 
presumes  (by  receiving  this  case)  tliere  is  no  mode  of  conviction  expressed  in  it. 
Two  principles  will  arise  on  that — if  the  latter  law  is  not  in  the  negative,  the 
summary  mode  of  conviction  in  the  former  is  not  abrogated.  If  the  last  act  is 
in  the  negative,  and  yet  does  not  point  out  a  mode  of  conviction,  it  becomes  a 
misdemeanor,  and  of  com'se  cognizable  at  the  session  by  the  way  of  indictment. 
But  this  is  advising  in  the  dark,  and  the  magistrates  wiU  perceive  that  the  want 
of  the  act  precludes  a  definite  opinion.  He  would  therefore  wish  that  the  Clerk 
of  the  Peace  would  transcribe  the  part  of  the  Winter  express  for  as  the  Acts 
have  not  yet  been  returned,  as  expected,  he  fears  they  will  not  arrive  till  the 
Spring.  The  information  may  be  taken  on  oath — which  will  save  the  limitation, 
if  any  in  the  Act.  He  begs  to  inform  the  magistrates  that  there  must  be  the  oath 
of  one  credible  witness  besides  the  information  of  the  informant. 

"J.  White, 

"A.  G. 
"To  the  Worshipful,  the  Chairman  and  Magistrate  of  the  Western  District 
in  Quarter  Session  Assembled. 

••J.  W." 

OTHER   ITEMS   OF   1793-4 

A  few  more  items  appear  in  the  old  records  and  files  during  the  years  1793 
and  179-1:.  John  Haydek,  a  sailor,  belonging  to  the  sloop  "Beaver,"  absented 
himself  from  that  vessel  without  leave  of  the  owner  or  master  from  the  2Sth  to 
the  31st  of  July,  1793.  He  was  arrested,  tried  before  John  Askin,  justice  of  the 
peace,  convicted  and  sentenced  to  the  keeper  of  the  common  gaol,  "to  be  safeh' 
kept  in  said  gaol  for  the  space  of  28  days"  from  August  7,  1793.  The  master  of 
the  "Beaver"  was  John  Drake. 

It  seems  difiicult,  at  this  time,  to  tell  when  the  court  of  common  pleas  ceased 
_to  exist,  as  no  successor  was  appointed.  In  the  summer  of  1793.  Mr.  D.  W. 
Smith,  I\I.  P.  wrote  from  Niagara: 

"Your  common  pleas,  I  understand,  is  reestablished  and  the  bench,  I  am 
told,  is  to  be  filled  by  the  Hon.  Col.  McKee  and  W.  Macomb." 

It  is  probable  that  Smith  was  in  error,  for  there  is  no  available  evidence  that 
Powell  ever  had  a  successor  in  Detroit.  It  is  almost  certain  that  Detroit 
had  no  other  judge  until  the  coming  of  Wayne  in  1796.  To  prove  the  con- 
tinued existence  of  the  court  of  common  pleas  during  this  period,  there  is  an 
advertisement,  hand  written  and  probably  placed  on  some  convenient  post  or 
tree,  notifj'ing  the  public  that  by  virtue  of  a  writ  of  execution  issued  out  by  the 
court  of  common  pleas,  the  sheriff,  Richard  Pollard,  would  sell  the  property  of 
the  defendant,  Joseph  Mainville,  "at  the  church  door  of  the  Parish  L'Assump- 
tion  le  vingt  deuxeime  day  of  September  next,"  thus  mixing  his  French  and 
English  to  suit  the  natives.  Attached  to  this  notice  was  another  that  possibly 
had  some  legal  significance  at  the  time,  but  would  scarcely  be  complied  with 
under  our  law.     It  was  as  follows: 

"All  and  every  person  having  any  prior  claims  by  mortgage  or  other  rights, 
are  hereby  required  to  give  notice  thereof  in  writing  to  the  said  sheriff  before  the 
day  of  sale." 

At  the  present  time  the  purchaser  takes  his  own  risk  of  outstanding  prior 
claims  when  he  purchases  at  such  a  sale. 

Roliert  Forsyth,  acting  for  George  Sharp,  complained  that  John  Bowers,  an 


engage  of  Sharp,  had,  September  26,  179-i,  refused  to  go  to  work  as  requested 
and  stated  that  "he  would  prefer  going  to  jail  to  obey  his  orders  on  that  head." 
On  this  complaint.  Bowers  was  arrested  and  brought  before  the  justice.  He 
answered  that  by  his  engagement  he  was  not  required  to  do  farm  work,  such  as 
he  had  been  requested  to  do.  He  entered  a  counter  complaint  against  Forsyth 
for  assault,  and  for  using  abusive  language.  The  justice'  decision  was:  "Ad- 
judged that  Bowers  return  to  his  duty  to  serve  out  his  time  agreeable  to  his 
engagement,  but  not  obliged  to  go  to  work  at  farmer's  work,  and  that  Forsyth 
gives  in  bail  to  appear  at  the  next  quarter  sessions  of  the  peace  to  answer  for 
having  struck  said  Bowers." 

The  postscript  to  the  decision  settled  the  entire  matter:  "The  parties  have 
come  before  me  and  made  up  their  disputes. 

"John  Askin  J.  P." 

Two  suits  of  John  Askin  and  Jonathan  Schieffelin,  co-partners,  against  John 
Askin,  were  tried  at  the  court  of  common  pleas  March  31,  1794,  and  a  verdict 
rendered  for  the  plaintiff.  These  suits  were  settled  by  the  payment  of  two  hun- 
dred and  fourteen  pounds  three  shillings  seven  pence,  October  11,  1794. 

This  letter  indicates  the  existence  of  this  court  in  March,  1794,  but  before 
October  of  that  year,  Judge  Powell  had  left  Detroit,  for  his  letter  dated  October 
13,  of  that  year,  is  written  from  Mount  Dorchester.  Mount  Dorchester  does 
not  appear  on  any  modern  map.  It  is  situated  on  the  Niagara  River,  a  short 
distance  below  the  falls.  "The  ridge  of  land  running  along  the  border  of  the 
Niagara  district  called  the  mountain,  was,  in  Governor  Simcoe's  time,  by 
royal  proclamation  named  Mount  Dorchester."  In  this  letter  the  judge  stated 
that  he  had  twice  been  to  Newark  to  open  the  court  of  K.  B.  (King's  Bench). 
The  following  is  an  extract  from  Judge  Powell's  letter  of  November  14,  which 
was  in  reply  to  an  inquiry  from  a  justice  of  the  peace  at  Detroit: 

"Your  favor  of  the  21st.  ulto.  covering  a  note  of  costs  on  a  penal  judgment 
and  stating  a  question  upon  the  demand,  I  rec'd.  this  da}^  As  the  case  is 
stated  as  a  magistrate  for  future  guidance  I  am  less  scrupulous  in  offering  mj- 
opinion  than  if  the  reference  was  merely  individual. 

"I  am  unacquainted  with  the  terms  of  your  pohce  regulations  since  I  was 
in  Detroit.  I  cannot  speak  for  the  letter  of  them,  but  I  know  of  no  general 
law  which  gives  you  power  to  create  offences  and  levy  the  penalties.  The  ordi- 
nance of  Quebec,  under  which  your  former  regulations  were  made,  subjected 
the  recovery  of  all  penalties  to  suit  in  the  common  pleas,  where,  of  course,  costs 
were  given  in  an  action  of  debt.  But  I  fear  on  a  summary  conviction,  before 
a  single  justice  out  of  session,  no  costs  were  recoverable  bj-  any  statute  prior 
to  the  14th.  of  the  King,  which  is  the  epoch  of  our  criminal  code,  altho,  I  think, 
by  a  subsequent  statute,  the  18th,  Geo.  3d,  some  provision  is  made  for  costs 
in  such  cases,  but  it  has  not  force  of  law  here. 

"It  is  a  general  rule  of  law  that  the  jurisdiction  of  justices  without  the 
intervention  of  a  jury,  being  contrary  to  the  provisions  of  Magna  Carta,  must 
be  derived  from  some  statute,  and  on  the  same  principle  that  the  statute  which 
gives  the  authority  must  be  rigidly  pursued.  Therefore,  in  your  case,,  if  the 
Act,  or  Ordinance,  makes  no  special  provision  for  costs,  none  can  be  adjudged. 
In  hazarding  this  statement  of  the  law  I  am  probably  committing  an  impro- 
priety should  I  have  misconstrued  your  letter  and  you  prove  a  party,  in  lieu  of 
the  justice  in  the  business,  for  the  appeal,  in  all  cases,  gives  to  the  K.  B.,  so 


that,  in  justice  to  me,  if  you  are  yourself  partj-,  j'ou  will  pay  the  costs  and  let 
the  business  sleep. 

"Your  very  obedt.  and  humble  servant, 

"William  Dummer  Powell." 

third  session  of  first  parliament 

The  third  session  of  the  first  parliament  met  at  Newark  (Niagara)  June  2, 
1794,  and  was  yrorogued  on  the  9th  of  the  following  July.  Only  twelve  acts 
were  passed. 

Through  these  acts  and  those  of  preceding  sessions,  we  find  the  continued 
addition  of  the  names  of  officers  and  offices  that  are  not  described  in  the  acts, 
nor  are  there  any  provisions  made  for  the  election  or  choice  of  such  officers. 
Their  duties  are  not  defined.  We  are  left  to  suppose  that  the  names  and  du- 
ties are  taken  from  England  and  English  laws  and  that  the  Canadians  under- 
stood who  they  were,  and  did  not  need  an  act  of  parliament  to  provide  for 
their  introduction  in  Canada. 

In  the  first  act,  relative  to  juries,  are  mentioned  a  clerk  of  the  peace,  bailiff, 
assize,  nisi  prius,  district  court,  judge  of  assize  or  nisi  prius  and  other  offices 
and  officers  that  are  nowhere  described  in  the  Canadian  laws.  We  know,  from 
common  usage,  who  these  officers  are,  and  the  duty  they  have  to  perform,  but 
it  seems  strange  that  the  duties  are  not  laid  down  in  their  early  statutes. 

No  person  was  allowed  to  serve  on  more  than  one  jury  in  any  j'ear. 

COURT    OF    king's    BENCH 

The  second  act  provided  for  the  establishment  of  a  superior  court  of  civil 
and  criminal  jurisdiction,  and  to  regulate  the  court  of  appeals.  This  was  called 
ti  e  court  of  King's  Bench,  and  was  a  court  of  record  of  original  jurisdiction, 
to  be  presided  over  by  a  chief  justice  and  two  puisne  justices.  Court  was  to 
be  held  at  Newark,  and  the  four  sessions  were  to  be  known  as  Hilary,  Easter, 
Trinity,  and  Michaelmas  terms.  Proceedings  were,  of  course,  in  the  English 
language,  but  a  summons  in  the  French  was  to  be  served  where  the  defendant 
was  a  Frenchman  or  French-Canadian. 

The  court  of  common  pleas  was  abolished  and  the  cases  pending  therein 
were  transferred  to  the  court  of  King's  Bench.  The  governor,  lieutenant- 
governor  or  the  chief  justice,  together  with  any  two  or  more  members  of  the 
executive  council  of  the  province,  were  to  compose  a  court  of  appestls.  Appeal 
could  be  taken  from  the  court  of  King's  Bench  to  the  court  of  appeals  in  all 
cases  where  the  subject  matter  in  controversy  exceeded  one  hundred  pounds. 
A  fee  biU  for  the  attorney-general,  clerk,  marshal,  crier  and  sheriff  was  pro- 
vided by  this  act. 

The  next  act  provided  for  a  district  court  in  each  district,  with  a  judge  to 
be  appointed  by  commission.  Tliis  court  was  to  be  held  in  the  town  where 
the  court  house  was  built,  "excepting  in  the  western  district,  where  the  court 
shall  be  holden  in  the  town  of  Detroit."  A  fee  bill  for  the  attorney,  sheriff, 
clerk,  crier  and  judge  was  given  in  the  act. 

The  code  of  procedure  was  supposed  to  be  very  simple  and  probabh-  was 
simple  until  the  learned  lawyers  began  to  copy  the  prolix  forms  of  the  old  coun- 
try in  their  pleadings. 

Chapter  Four  provided  that  the  governor  might  license  not  exceeding  six- 


teen  persons  to  act  as  advocates  and  attorneys  in  Upper  Canada.    The  roll  of 
advocates  should  be  kept  among  the  records  of  the  court  of  King's  Bench. 


The  fourth  session  of  the  first  parliament  met  at  Newark  Julj^  6,  1795, 
and  was  prorogued  August  10,  1795.  There  were  only  five  acts  passed  at  this 
session.  The  first  act  appointed  a  board  of  surgeons  who  had  powers  to  grant 
licenses  to  practice  "physic,  surgery  and  midwifery"  in  the  province.  Per- 
sons attempting  to  practice  without  a  license  were  fined  ten  pounds. 

The  second  act  was  aimed  at  persons  who  had  been  citizens  of  Canada  or 
England  and  who  had  resided  in  the  United  States  as  citizens  and  had  returned 
to  Canada  and  again  become  citizens  of  that  country.  All  such  persons  were 
ineligible  to  either  house  of  parliament. 

The  fourth  act  amended  the  law  establishing  the  court  of  King's  Bench  by 
providing  that  this  court  should  hear  all  actions  brought  for  smuggling. 

The  fifth  chapter  established  the  office  of  register  of  deeds,  thus  preceding, 
by  one  year,  a  nearly  similar  law  put  in  force  in  Detroit  upon  the  evacuation 
of  the  place  by  British  troops. 

The  laws  of  the  two  countries  are  verj^  similar  in  many  of  the  provisions, 
but  there  are  some  matters  of  difTerence.  The  office  hours  of  the  register  were 
fixed  at  from  9  o'clock  in  the  morning  till  1  o'clock  in  the  afternoon;  a  separate 
record  book  should  be  kept  for  each  township;  the  register's  fee  should  be  one 
shilling  for  each  folio  of  one  hundred  words.  Conveyances  were  not  recorded 
at  full  length,  as  in  modern  records,  but  an  abstract  only  of  the  paper  was 
entered  by  the  register.  In  this  particular,  our  own  laws,  at  a  later  date,  fol- 
lowed the  provisions  of  the  Canadian  statutes,  though,  as  a  matter  of  fact, 
no  such  abstract  or  extract  was  ever  recorded  in  Wayne  County  subsequent 
to  1796.  No  matter  what  the  terms  of  the  statute  were,  every  conveyance 
was  recorded  at  full  length  under  our  territorial  and  state  laws.  Thus  ended 
the  first  parliament  of  Upper  Canada. 

The  members  of  the  legislative  council  of  the  first  parliament  were:  Will- 
i  m  Osgoode,  James  Baby,  Alexander  Grant,  Peter  Russell,  members  of  the 
e  e  utive  council,  and  Robert  Hamilton,  Richard  Cartwright  and  John  Munro, 
members  of  the  legislative  council.  The  members  of  the  lower  house  have  al- 
ready been  given. 

William  Osgoode  was  born  in  England  in  1754  and  graduated  from  Ox- 
ford in  1777.  He  studied  for  the  law  and  was  called  to  the  bar.  He  came  to 
Upper  Canada  as  chief  justice  in  1792.  He  returned  to  England  in  1801  and 
died  in  1824,  never  having  married.  Osgoode  Hall  in  Toronto  was  named  in 
his  honor. 

James  Baby  was  born  in  Detroit  August  25,  1763,  his  father,  James  Duperon 
Baby,  being  one  of  the  men  who  rendered  great  assistance  to  the  garrison  at 
the  place  during  the  siege  by  Pontiac  in  1763.  James  was  an  extensive  trader 
in  Detroit  during  the  term  of  British  occupation,  and  his  name  is  frequently 
found  in  the  preceding  pages.  He  took  a  prominent  part  in  the  War  of  1812 
in  the  British  cause,  and  suffered  great  losses  in  those  trying  times.  After 
the  war  was  over  he  was  appointed  inspector-general  and  removed  to  York 
(Toronto),  where  he  continued  to  reside  until  his  death  on  February  19,  1833. 

Alexander  Grant  was  another  Detroit  citizen.  Judge  R.  S.  Woods,  of 
Chatham,  Ontario,  a  grandson  of  Alexander  Grant,  says  in  his  "Harrison  Hall 


and  Its  Associations"  that  Grant  was  tlie  fourth  son  of  the  seventh  laird  of 
Grant  of  Glenmoriston,  Inverness,  Scotland.  He  came  to  America  with  General 
Amherst  in  1757  and  was  appointed  to  the  command  of  a  vessel  on  Lake  Cham- 
plain.  He  came  to  Detroit  at  a  later  time,  and  in  1774  married  Therese  Barthe. 
John  Askin  married  a  sister  of  Therese  (Archange)  and  the  two  families  were 
always  intimate.  Grant  owned  a  farm  in  Grosse  Pointe,  Wayne  County.  He 
was  given  the  command  of  the  Canadian  or  British  naval  department  on  Lake 
Erie  and  was  commonly  called  the  "Commodore  of  the  Lakes."  He  died  in 
1813,  leaving  eleven  children.  His  only  son,  Alexander,  died  unmarried,  so  that 
the  family  name  has  become  extinct,  or  rather  the  family  line.  John  Grant  was 
an  adopted  son,  but  reared  in  the  family  of  Commodore  Grant.  Judge  Woods 
says  that  James  Baby  and  Alexander  Grant  were  associates  of  Judge  Powell 
in  1792,  but  there  existed  no  Canadian  law  which  provided  for  side  judges. 

Under  the  marriage  laws  of  Upper  Canada,  as-  above  related,  it  became 
necessary  for  persons  who  were  not  married  by  the  Catholic  priest,  to  make 
a  sworn  statement  of  their  marriage  and  file  a  copy  with  the  clerk  of  the  peace. 
There  exists  the  original  affidavit  made  by  Therese  Barthe,  of  her  marriage  with 
Alexander  Grant.  They  were  married  September  30,  1774.  Their  eldest  daugh- 
ter, Therese,  was  born  Februarj-  13,  1776,  and  their  other  children  living  at  the 
date  of  the  statement,  February  27,  1798,  were:  Archange,  Phillis,  Arabella, 
Anne,  Elizabeth,  Nelly,  Alexander  and  Maria. 


Seven  acts  were  passed  at  the  session  of  the  second  parliament. 

First,  an  act  regulating  coins.  This  fixed  the  value  of  coins  of  other  coun- 
tries and  provided  a  punishment  for  counterfeiting,  but  did  not  provide  for 
any  native  coining. 

The  .second  act  regulated  the  manner  of  drawing  juries. 

The  act  for  licensing  public  houses  was  amended,  in  order  to  permit  licenses 
to  be  obtained  at  any  season  of  the  year,  and  providing  a  punishment  for  those 
who  sold  liquor  without  a  license. 

The  fourth  act  was  the  only  one  of  interest  to  Detroit.  This  act  repealed 
the  former  act  providing  for  the  holding  of  the  court  of  quarter  sessions  in  De- 
troit and  Mackinac,  and  provided  that  these  courts  in  the  western  district  should 
be  held  in  the  parish  of  Assumption  (Sandwich)  until  such  time  as  it  should 
seem  expedient  to  the  magistrates  to  remove  and  hold  the  same  nearer  to  the 
island,  called  the  Isle  of  Bois  Blanc,  being  near  the  entrance  of  the  Detroit 
River.  "As  it  seems  not  to  be  any  longer  expedient  to  hold  the  said  court  in 
the  town  of  Detroit  aforesaid,  be  it  enacted  that  the  district  court  shall  be 
holden"  in  tlie  same  place  the  courts  of  quarter  sessions  are  held.  This  act  was 
passed  in  contemplation  of  the  treaty  of  1794,  which,  although  already  adopted, 
did  not  take  effect  until  the  summer  of  1796. 

It  may  not  be  generally  known  that  Bois  Blanc  Island  was,  at  one  time, 
a  part  of  the  territory  of  the  United  States.  In  the  first  treaty  fixing  the  bound- 
ary line  between  the  L^nited  States  and  Canada,  it  was  provided  that  the  line 
of  navigation  should  be  the  dividing  line.  The  line  of  navigation  was  between 
Bois  Blanc  Island  and  the  Canadian  shore,  and  this  was  accepted,  but  subse- 
quently— June  18,  1822 — ccmmissioners  who  were  appointed  to  run  the  bound- 
ary line  anew,  concluded  that  the  island  was  too  near  the  mainland  to  be  pos- 
sessed properly  by  another  nation,  and  they  conceded  the  claim  that  it  ought 


to  belong  to  Canada.    It  was  given  to  her,  but  it  v/as  at  the  same  time  provided 
that  the  waters  on  both  sides  of  the  island  should  be  equally  free  to  both  nations. 

The  law  providing  for  bounties  for  killing  wolves  and  other  wild  animals 
was  repealed  by  the  fifth  act. 

The  sixth  act  provided  for  the  regulation  of  commerce  between  Upper 
and  Lower  Canada,  and  the  seventh  and  last  act  provided  for  the  paj'ment 
of  wages  to  the  members  of  the  house  of  assembly.  This  ends  the  legislative 
connection  between  Detroit  and  Canada.  Parliament  was  prorogued  liut  a 
few  days  before  the  British  army  evacuated  Detroit  and  the  post  passed  under 
the  control  of  the  laws  of  the  Northwest  Territory. 

The  election  of  the  second  parliament  did  not  take  place  until  August,  1796, 
a  short  time  after  Detroit  passed  under  the  government  of  the  Northwest 
Territory,  and  hence  no  member  of  that  assembly  came  from  Detroit.  Our 
village,  however,  maj-  make  some  claim  to  representation  in  this  parliament, 
for  one  of  its  members  was  Thomas  Smith,  who,  before  and  after  the  election, 
resided  in  Detroit.  He  was  a  surveyor  and  mapmaker  of  some  note  and  a  citi- 
zen of  considerable  importance.  His  daughter  was  the  wife  of  John  McDonell, 
who  lived  at  the  northwest  corner  of  Shelby  and  Fort  Streets,  where  after- 
wards stood  the  Whitney  Opera  House  and  where  now  stands  the  U.  S.  post- 

We  have  now  reached  the  time  when  Detroit  ceased  to  be  under  the  control 
of  Canadian  laws,  and  passed  under  the  government  and  laws  of  the  territory 
northwest  of  the  Ohio  River. 

(Continued  in  next  chapter) 




By  Clarence  M.  Burton 
organization  of  northwest  territory territorial  laws  and  courts 


















The  "Territory  of  the  United  States  North  West  of  the  Ohio  River,"  gener- 
ally known  as  the  Northwest  Territory,  was  organized  under  the  oi'dinance  of 
1787.  The  legislative  authority  was  vested  in  a  governor  and  three  judges, 
and  the  judicial  affairs  were  presided  over  by  the  same  three  judges.  The  three 
first  appointed  October  16,  1787,  were:  Samuel  Holden  Parsons,  James  Mitchell 
Varnum  and  John  Armstrong.  Armstrong  declined  the  appointment  and  John 
Cleves  Symmes  was  chosen  in  his  place  February  19,  1788.  General  Varnum 
had  sought  the  Ohio  climate  for  his  health,  which  had  been  undermined  by  his 
soldier's  life  in  the  Revolution,  but  he  soon  died  and  William  Barton  was 
appointed  to  succeed  him.  Barton  declined  and  George  Turner  took  his  place 
by  appointment  September  11,  1789.  General  Parsons  met  his  death  by 
drowning  and  on  March  31,  1790,  Rufus  Putnam  succeeded  him  and  he  in  turn 
was  succeeded  by  Joseph  Oilman.  Return  Jonathan  Meigs,  Jr.,  was  appointed 
in  place  of  George  Turner,  who  resigned  February  12,  179S. 

The  governor  and  judges  could  not  enact  laws,  but  they  could  adopt  laws 
from  any  of  the  original  thirteen  states  to  meet  their  requirements.     Whatever 



laws  they  thus  adopted  had  to  be  submitted  to  Congress  and  the  acts  were 
to  remain  in  force  unless  and  until  disapproved  by  the  national  body.  The 
governor  and  judges  did  not  comply  strictly  with  the  provisions  of  the  ordinance, 
but  enacted  many  new  laws,  and  they  undertook  to  defend  their  actions  on  the 
ground  of  necessity,  as  they  claimed  they  could  not  find  laws  already  enacted 
in  the  thirteen  states,  which  were  adapted  to  all  of  their  needs.  Trial  by  jury 
was  provided  by  the  ordinance  of  1787,  in  all  cases  where  demanded. 


A  code  of  laws  was  established  in  1788  which  practically  covered  the  needs 
of  the  territory.     Only  a  few  of  these  adopted  laws  will  be  referred  to  here. 

The  governor  was  authorized  to  appoint  all  necessary  justices  of  the  peace, 
and  from  these  appointments  he  was  directed  to  select  not  less  than  three  nor 
more  than  five  in  each  county  to  form  the  quorum  for  the  court  of  quarter 
sessions  of  the  peace.  The  justices  of  the  county,  or  any  three  of  them,  at 
least  one  of  whom  must  be  of  the  quorum,  could  hold  court. 

Misdemeanors  were  to  be  tried  before  the  justices.  All  other  criminal 
trials,  less  than  capital  cases  and  criminal  cases  where  imprisonment  for  more 
than  one  year  was  the  penaltj^,  were  to  be  tried  before  the  quarter  sessions. 

The  County  Court  of  Common  Pleas  was  established  in  each  countj'  to  hear 
all  civil  cases.  The  governor  was  to  appoint  not  less  than  three  nor  more  than 
five  judges  in  each  county  to  preside  over  this  court,  which  should  be  a  court  of 
record.  A  single  judge  of  the  court  of  common  pleas  could  hear  and  determine 
cases  where  the  amount  involved  did  not  exceed  five  dollars. 

A  judge  of  a  court  of  probate  was  to  be  appointed  for  each  county,  to  have 
charge  of  estates,  probate  wills  and  appoint  guardians  to  minors.  The  probate 
judge  could  call  to  his  assistance  two  of  the  justices  of  the  court  of  common 
pleas,  and  the  three  judges  constituted  the  probate  court  and  could  render  final 
decrees.  The  probate  judge  should  record  all  wills.  A  clerk  was  provided  for 
the  probate  court  to  keep  the  records  of  the  office. 

The  general  court  for  the  territory  should  be  presided  over  by  the  judges 
appointed  by  the  President.  This  court  was  termed  the  supreme  court.  Mar- 
riages could  be  performed  by  the  judges  of  the  general  court  (supreme  court)  or 
of  the  court  of  common  pleas,  minister  of  any  denomination,  or  by  the  Society 
of  Quakers  in  their  public  meetings.  It  was  not  until  August  1,  1792,  that 
justices  of  the  peace  could  perform  marriages.  A  certificate  of  the  marriage 
was  to  be  sent  to  the  register  of  the  county  and  entered  on  his  records  within 
three  months  after  the  marriage. 

Every  county  should  have  a  courthouse,  jail  and  pillory,  whipping-post  and 
stocks.  In  the  jail  there  should  be  separate  compartments  for  confining  debtors 
and  criminals. 

A  schedule  of  fees  fixed  the  compensation  of  public  officers.  One  of  the 
provisions  of  this  act  permitted  the  person  to  whom  a  fee  was  to  be  paid  to 
demand  a  quart  of  Indian  meal  as  an  equivalent  for  each  cent  of  the  fee;  thus, 
if  the  fee  was  one  dollar  the  officer  could  demand  one  hundred  quarts  of  Indian 
meal  in  lieu  of  the  monej^,  but  he  could  not  be  compelled  to  accept  anything 
except  specie. 

The  justices  at  the  court  of  quarter  sessions  were  authorized  to  divide  the 
county  in  which  they  were  located  into  townships  and  to  appoint  a  constable 
in  each  township.     The  justices  were  presumed  to  have  their  clerk  enter  their 


proceedings  on  the  docket  of  tlie  court.  The  justices  of  the  court  of  quarter 
sessions  were  to  appoint  overseers  of  highways  and  township  clerks. 

The  common  law  of  England  was  declared  to  be  in  force  except  as  modified 
or  changed  by  statute. 

The  general  court  and  circuit  court  had  the  exclusive  right  to  grant  divorces, 
and  there  were  Init  two  grounds  for  absolute  divorce;  these  were  adultery  and 

One  of  the  judges  of  the  supreme  court  was  to  hold  court  in  each  of  the 
counties  of  the  Territory  and  this  court  was  termed  the  circuit  court. 

The  court  presided  over  by  the  judges  of  the  supreme  court  was  called  the 
general  court,  and  an  appeal  would  lie  from  the  courts  of  quarter  sessions  and 
from  any  other  court  to  this  body. 

Imprisonment  for  debt  was  permitted,  but  was  limited  luilcss  the  debt  was 
fraudulent,  or  the  debtor  concealed  his  property. 

These,  in  brief,  were  the  laws  that  related  to  the  formation  of  the  courts 
which  were  in  force  at  the  time  of  the  admission  of  Detroit  to  the  government 
of  the  Northwest  Territory. 

jay's  treaty 

Detroit  was  in  the  territory  which  was  conceded  to  belong  to  the  United 
States  under  the  treaty  of  1783,  but  the  British  continued  to  hold  possession 
of  it  in  contravention.of  our  treaty  rights.  This  was  a  constant  source  of  annoy- 
ance to  both  governments,  and  a  subject  of  heated  discussion  which  occasionally 
1(^1  the  nations  to  the  verge  of  war. 

In  179-1  John  Jay  was  sent  to  England  in  order  to  bring  about  a  satisfactory 
adjustment  of  the  differences  between  the  nations  and  the  surrender  of  the  post 
still  held  by  Great  Britain.  Jay's  treaty  was  signed  November  19,  1794,  and 
was  conditionally  ratified  by  Congress  June  24,  1795.  England  agreed  to  with- 
draw all  of  her  troops  within  the  boundaries  of  the  United  States  by  June  1, 
1796.  All  settlers  and  traders  within  the  United  States  could  retain  their 
property  unmolested  and  were  at  liberty  to  remain,  or  remove,  from  the  country 
at  their  pleasure.  The  provisions  of  the  treaty  relating  to  citizenship  read 
as  follows: 

"And  they  shall  make  and  declare  their  election  within  one  year  after  the 
evacuation.  And  all  persons  who  shall  continue  there  after  the  expiration  of 
the  said  year  without  declaring  their  intention  of  remaining  subjects  of  his 
Britannic  majesty,  shall  be  considered  as  having  elected  to  become  citizens 
of  the  United  States."  (In  this  connection  see  the  several  cases  of  Crane  vs. 
Reeder  in  Michigan  Supreme  Court  Reports.) 

Jay's  treaty  did  not  take  effect  until  the  formal  surrender  of  the  posts,  which, 
in  Detroit,  was  on  June  11,  1796.  The  American  troops  took  possession  at 
once  and  the  rule  of  our  federal  government  commenced. 


Winthrop  Sargent,  secretary  of  the  Northwest  Territory  (and  claiming  to 
be  acting  governor),  came  to  Detroit  and  on  the  15th  of  August,  1796,  organized 
the  County  of  Wajme.  Sargent  was  authorized  to  act  as  governor  only  in  the 
event  of  the  absence  of  the  governor  from  the  territory.  Arthur  St.  Clair,  the 
governor,  was  not  absent  from  the  territory  on  the  daj^  that  Sargent  proclaimed 
the  organization  of  the  new  county.     An  extract  from  a  letter  of  Governor  St. 


Clair,  dated  at  Pittsburg,  August  13,  1796,  fully  explains  the  illegalitj'  of  Sar- 
gent's action  in  this  case.     In  this  letter  to  Secretary  Sargent,  he  writes: 

"Yesterday  I  met  with  Capt.  Pierce,  from  Fort  Washington,  and  by  him 
I  learned  that  you  were  gone  to  Detroit.  Should  the  object  of  that  journey 
be  of  a  public  nature,  I  have  to  wish  that  it  had  not  been  undertaken,  for  tomor- 
row I  shall  be  in  the  territory,  and  then  the  powers  of  the  governor,  which  devolve 
upon  the  secretary  in  his  absence,  will  cease  as  to  you,  yet  it  may  happen  that 
both  you  and  me  are  discharging  the  duties  of  that  office  at  the  same  time  and, 
of  course,  the  acts  of  one  must  be  void." 

From  the  above  letter  it  appears  that  St.  Clair  was  in  the  Territorj'  before 
August  15th  and  that  consequently  the  organization  of  Wayne  County  by 
Winthrop  Sargent,  as  acting  governor,  was  illegal.  However,  General  St.  Clair 
afterwards  recognized  the  county  formation  and  appointed  officers  in  it.  The 
new  county  was  named  after  Gen.  Anthony  Wayne,  and  Detroit  was  selected 
as  the  county  seat.  It  was  the  largest  county  in  existence  in  the  United  States. 
It  included  the  northern  parts  of  Ohio,  Indiana  and  Illinois,  all  of  Michigan 
and  all  of  Wisconsin  bordering  upon  the  streams  which  emptied  into  Lake 
Michigan.  Its  eastern  boundarj-  was  the  Cuyahoga  River,  which  runs  through 
the  present  City  of  Cleveland. 

As  already  stated,  the  legislative  bodj'  of  the  Northwest  Territory  of  179G 
consisted  of  Governor  St.  Clair  and  Judges  Symmes,  Turner  and  Putnam.  In 
that  year  Putnam  resigned  to  become  surveyor-general,  and  Joseph  Gilman 
was  appointed  in  his  place  December  22,  1796.  The  next  year  Judge  Turner 
resigned  and  he  was  succeeded  by  Return  Jonathan  Meigs,  who  was  appointed 
February  12,  1798.  It  is  said  that  Symmes  and  Meigs  held  court  in  Detroit, 
but  there  was  never  a  general  court  held  here,  that  is,  a  court  where  all  three 
judges  were  present  at  the  same  time.  There  was  no  further  change  in  the 
office  of  these  judges  until  after  the  admission  of  Ohio  in  1803.  Governor  St. 
Clair  remained  in  office  until  his  removal  in  1802,  and  from  that  date  Charles 
Willing  Bj-rd,  secretary,  acted  as  governor  until  the  Territory  of  Indiana  was 


The  only  laws  published  by  the  governor  and  judges  after  Michigan  became 
de  facto  a  part  of  the  Northwest  Territory,  are  included  in  a  little  volume  of 
thirty  pages,  printed  at  the  time,  and  are  ten  in  number.     They  are  as  follows: 

1.  Providing  for  the  formation  of  corporations. 

2.  Punishment  for  maiming. 

3.  Vesting  powers  in  justices  of  the  peace  in  criminal  cases. 

4.  Distributing  estates  of  deceased  persons. 
.5.     Improving  breed  of  horses. 

6.  ]Mode  of  procedure  in  civil  cases. 

7.  Fixing  fees  of  officers. 

8.  Taxing  unimproved  real  estate. 

9.  Acknowledgement  of  deeds. 
"10.  Establishing  a  land  office. 

The  above  are  all  the  laws  published,  but  in  Chase's  statutes  is  another  act, 
repealing  a  former  act  of  the  same  legislative  body.  The  above  acts  were  of 
doubtful  validity  and  were  not  enforced  until  they  were  reenacted  by  the  first 
legislative  council.     None  of  the  above  acts  are  of  any  great  importance  to  De- 


troit,  save,  perhaps,  number  three,  which  gave  justices  of  the  peace  the  right  to 
punish  by  fine  all  persons  found  guilty  of  assault  and  battery,  and  to  arrest  and 
hold  to  the  higher  court  affrayers,  rioters  and  disturl^ers  of  the  peace. 


The  names,  formation  and  jurisdiction  of  the  various  courts  in  Detroit  were 
necessarily  the  same  as  in  the  other  parts  of  the  Northwest  Territory.  There 
were  the  supreme  court,  the  circuit  court,  the  court  of  common  pleas,  probate 
court,  justice  court,  and  court  of  quarter  sessions  of  the  peace.  A  few  days 
after  the  organization  of  the  county,  the  court  of  quarter  sessions  and  the 
probate  court  were  organized  (September  29,  1796).  The  first  court  of  quarter 
sessions  was  held  October  8,  1796,  and  the  clerk  was  directed  to  notify  the 
justices  of  the  peace  that  such  a  court  would  be  held,  the  first  Tuesday  in  Decem- 
ber. This  court  was  to  divide  the  county  into  districts  and  name  commissioners 
and  constables.  The  historian,  Lanman,  says  that  court  was  opened  by  procla- 
mation December  10,  1796,  and  the  commission  appointing  the  judges  and  civil 
officers  read,  appointing  Louis  Beaufait  senior  justice,  and  Janjes  May,  Charles 
Francois  Girardin,  Patrick  McNiff  and  Nathaniel  Williams  as  associate  justices, 
and  George  McDougall,  sheriff.  It  is  certain  that  Mr.  Lanman  is  in  error  as 
to  the  date  of  the  appointment  of  some  of  the  officers.  Nearly  all  of  the  earlier 
records  have  been  so  carelessly  used  that  they  have  disappeared;  only  a  few 

The  earliest  remaining  file  in  the  court  of  common  pleas  is  David  Acheron 
vs.  John  Bowyer,  lieutenant  in  the  armj',  and  the  case  was  begun  October  10, 
1796,  showing  that  the  judges  must  have  been  appointed  before  that  date. 
The  business  of  the  court  of  common  pleas  soon  fell  into  the  hands  of  two  of  the 
justices,  Louis  Beaufait,  "president  of  the  court  of  common  pleas,"  and  James 
May,  associate  justice. 

Among  the  appointments  made  at  this  time  were  Herman  Eberts,  coroner, 
and  Peter  Audrain,  prothonotary,  clerk  and  judge  of  probate. 

On  the  23d  of  December,  1796,  George  McDougall,  sheriff,  and  Herman 
Eberts,  coroner,  entered  into  an  agreement  by  which  Eberts  agreed  to  perform, 
for  one  year,  all  the  duties  of  sheriff  and  to  relieve  McDougall.  Eberts  was  to 
receive,  as  compensation  for  his  work,  two-thirds  of  the  fees  of  the  office,  viz.: 
the  taxable  costs  of  each  suit,  and  he  was  further  to  save  IVIcDougall  harmless 
from  damages  for  escapes  of  prisoners  in  his  custody  and  for  all  moneys  he  might 
receive  as  sheriff.  To  secure  McDougall  for  thus  relinquishing  his  office,  Eberts 
gave  him  a  bond  of  four  thousand  dollars,  with  Robert  Gouie  and  Charles  F. 
Girardin  as  sureties. 

During  the  year  above  mentioned,  Eberts  signs  himself  as  "acting  sheriff," 
but  at  the  end  of  that  time  he  signs  "High  Sheriff  of  Wayne  County."  It  is 
probable  that  he  received  the  appointment  of  sheriff  in  1797.  Lewis  Bond  was 
named  sheriff  by  Governor  St.  Clair  August  20,  1798. 


The  most  important  official  of  this  time  was  Peter  Audrain.  He  was  born 
in  France  in  1725,  and  came  to  Pennsylvania,  where  he  became  a  citizen  of  the 
United  States  October  2,  1781.  He  lived  for  a  time  in  Pittsburg.  It  is  not 
known  when  or  where  he  learned  to  read  and  write  the  English  language,  but  prob- 
ably some  years  before  he  came  to  Detroit,  for  upon  his  arrival  here  he  was 


appointed  prothonotary  and  judge  of  probate,  and  the  early  records  of  the  settle- 
ment, which  are  nearly  all  in  his  handwriting,  show  a  great  familiarity  with  the 
English  language  for  a  foreigner,  and  his  handwriting  is  a  wonder  to  the  student 
who  reads  it  todaj-.  His  peculiar,  small  penmanship  is  never  forgotten  when 
once  seen,  and  the  many  pages  of  the  records  kept  by  him  are  as  clear  as  print, 
and  nearly  as  perfect  in  formation  as  copper  plate.  The  wonder  is  how  a  person 
with  a  quill  pen,  such  as  was  in  use  in  that  time,  could  write  so  beautifully. 
Mr.  Audrain's  wife  was  Margaret  Moore.  They  were  married  before  coming 
to  Detroit.  There  is  a  fragment  of  the  journal  of  Audrain,  printed  in  the 
"Michigan  Pioneer  and  Historical  Collections,"  in  Volume  Eight,  which  indi- 
cates that  he  was  in  Pittsburg  in  July,  1796,  and  must  have,  a  few  days  later, 
accompanied  General  Wayne's  army  on  the  march  to  Detroit.  Wherever  he 
journeyed  he  was  received  as  a  guest,  which  indicates  that  he  occupied  some 
place  of  importance  with  the  army  corps,  though  not  an  official  position. 

On  the  27th  of  July,  1796,  General  Wayne  met  Secretary  Winthrop  Sargent 
at  Greenville,  and  together  they  proceeded  to  Detroit,  and  there  established, 
as  we  have  seen,  Wayne  County  and  the  county  courts.  The  office  of  prothon- 
otary was  of  more  real  importance  than  any  other  in  the  new  county.  At 
least,  Mr.  Audrain  made  the  office  of  importance,  for  he  kept  all  the  records, 
was  register  of  deeds,  judge  of  probate,  clerk  of  the  courts,  and  general  scrivener 
of  the  community.  He  retained  offices  of  importance  nearlj-  all  his  life,  but 
in  his  old  age,  when  he  was  ninety-four  years  old,  the  lawyers  complained  that 
the  records  of  the  supreme  court  were  in  great  disorder  through  his  neglect,  and 
he  was  removed  in  1819.  He  died  the  following  year,  October  6,  1820,  and 
his  remains  were  buried  in  the  cemeterj^  of  Ste.  Anne's  Church. 

orphan's  court 

The  orphans'  court,  occasionally  referred  to  in  the  early  territorial  records, 
was  established  by  the  act  of  June  16,  1795.  Apparently  nearly  all  of  the 
records  have  been  lost  or  destroyed,  and  very  little  information  can  be  obtained 
regarding  it.  The  justices  of  the  court  of  quarter  sessions  of  the  peace  were 
empowered  to  hold  this  court,  the  duties  of  which  were  to  oversee  and  have 
control  of  estates  in  general.  The  judge  of  probate  was  to  submit  copies  of  the 
records  of  his  office  to  the  orphans'  court  for  examination.  The  court  had 
supervision  over  minors  and  their  estates.  It  had  authority  to  bind  a  minor 
out  to  learn  a  trade.  It  could  probate  wills,  and  grant  letters  of  administration. 
Its  powers  were  very  large,  but  in  practice  it  was  nearly  useless,  as  very  1  ez 
work  was  done  under  it.  The  judges  of  this  court  in  1800  were  Joseph  Voy  .  ' 
Jean  Marie  Beaubien  and  George  McDougall.  The  court  was  abolished  ^^ 

The  recorder's  office  was  established  under  an  act  of  June  18,  1795  and  the 
official  in  charge  was  called  the  "recorder."  The  office  was  opened  for  business 
in  Detroit  on  the  10th  day  of  September,  1796,  and  the  first  deed  recorded 
was  from  Marie  Petit,  widow  of  Hiacinthe  Deaitre,  to  Laurent  Maure,  conveying 
a  farm  on  the  Huron  River  of  Lake  St.  Clair,  now  called  the  Clinton  River. 
Audrain  was  the  prothonotary  or  recorder  or  clerk  who  recorded  this  deed  and 
all  other  conveyances  for  some  years. 

The  court  of  common  pleas  was  first  held  in  Detroit  under  British  rule. 
There  was  no  provision  under  the  treaty  of  1794  for  the  continuing  of  the 
courts,  but  as  the  new  American  court  bore  the  same  name,  there  was  an  incli- 

Vol.  1—16 


nation,  on  the  part  of  some  of  the  parties,  to  continue  the  old  cases  in  the  new 
establishment.  There  are  certainly  some  cases  that  were  begun  under  the 
British  rule  that  were  completed  after  the  Americans  came  in. 

There  were  no  statutes  of  limitation  for  the  recovery  of  debts,  and  obliga- 
tions of  many  years  standing,  some  twenty  or  more  years  old,  were  sued  in 
the  territorial  courts. 

The  lawyers  whose  names  are  found  in  these  old  records  were  Ezra  Fitz 
Freeman,  John  S.  Wiles,  Solomon  Sibley,  Elijah  Brush,  and  Walter  Roe. 


The  transfer  of  allegiance  in  pursuance  of  the  terms  of  Jay's  treaty  created 
a  peculiar  state  of  affairs  at  Detroit,  which  is  difficult  to  understand  and  still 
more  difficult  to  explain.  The  treaty  had  provided  a  method  by  which  persons 
might  become  citizens  of  the  United  States,  but  no  mode  was  pointed  out  by 
which  they  could  stay  in  Detroit  and  remain  British  subjects. 

Only  one  person,  so  far  as  the  records  show,  took  the  oath  of  allegiance. 
This  was  William  McClure,  gentleman,  who  took  his  oath  "as  a  residenter 
of  Detroit"  in  conformity  to  the  provisions  of  Jaj''s  treaty.  It  was  not,  however, 
at  this  time  supposed  to  be  necessary  to  take  anj'  formal  action  whatever  in 
order  to  become  naturalized.  It  was  decided  by  our  state  supreme  court,  in 
the  case  of  Crane  vs.  Reeder,  that  if  a  person  resided  in  Detroit  at  the  time 
this  treaty  took  effect  and  did  not  file  a  remonstrance  against  becoming  a 
citizen,  he  became  naturalized  by  virtue  of  the  treaty. 


There  was  considerable  discussion  over  the  proper  method  to  be  followed 
l\v  those  who  w'ished  to  remain  British  subjects.  As  the  year  passed  bj^,  this 
subject  was  more  and  more  discussed.  A  faction  was  rapidly  growing  that 
hesitated  to  become  naturalized.  The  leader  in  this  faction  was  John  Askin, 
whose  name  has  been  frequenth'  mentioned  in  the  preceding  pages.  Askin 
drew  up  a  statement  or  notice  to  the  effect  that  the  signers  did  not  wish  to 
become  citizens  of  the  United  States,  but  desired  to  remain  subjects  of  Great 
Britain,  and  he  took  this  paper  around  to  the  people  living  in  the  neighborhood 
of  Detroit  and  succeeded  in  getting  many  of  them  to  sign  it.  He  then  sent 
a  copj'  of  this  list  to  Peter  Russell,  who  was  administrator  of  Upper  Canada  in 
the  absence  of  the  governor,  and  gave  the  original  to  Peter  Audrain  to  be 
recorded  in  his  office.    Four  of  these  notices  were  recorded  in  the  registry  office. 

The  actions  of  Askin  in  procuring  the  notices  above  mentioned  had  made  him 
an  object  of  suspicion  to  the  authorities.  He  was  a  man  of  great  influence, 
a  trader  on  a  large  scale,  an  officer  in  the  Canadian  militia,  and  to  some  extent 
the  "Warwick"  of  the  west,  for  if  he  did  not  hold  important  offices,  he  dictated 
who  should  hold  them. 

The  peace  w'hich  wa.s  declared  b.v  the  treaty  to  exist  between  the  United 
States  and  England,  was  more  a  peace  of  the  mouth  than  of  the  heart,  for  each 
countiy  was  suspicious  of  the  other.  War  existed  between  France  and  England, 
and  the  French  government  had  sent  emissaries  through  the  United  States  to 
sound  the  French  residing  there  or  in  Upper  Canada  on  their  feelings  towards 
England.  It  was  thought  that  an  effort  would  be  made  to  rouse  the  French- 
Canadians  to  a  rebellion.  Both  the  United  States  and  Canada  were  excited 
over  this  affair.     Francis  Babj',   deputy  lieutenant  for  the  County  of  Essex, 


then  residing  at  Sandwich,  was  called  hastily  to  Niagara,  the  seat  of  govern- 
ment, and  from  that  place  he  issued  the  following  secret  circular: 

"Niagara,  October  23,  1796. 
"Intelligence  of  a  very  serious  nature  having  reached  me  from  lower  Canada, 
which  may  require  the  exertion  of  his  majesty's  faithful  subjects  in  this  province, 
I  am  to  request  that  you  will  recommend  it  to  the  officers  and  soldiers  of  militia 
battalions  and  independent  companies  under  your  command  to  provide  them- 
selves with  proper  arms  and  a  sufficiency  of  ammunition  forthwith  and  you  will 
be  pleased  to  make  a  report  to  me  without  loss  of  time  of  the  number  of  muskets 
and  quantity  of  ammunition  which  you  may  want,  to  supply  those  who  are 
absolutely  incapable  from  poverty,  or  other  causes,  to  supply  themselves. 

"Francis  Baby, 
"Dep.  Lt.  C.  E." 

Mr.  Askin,  then  living  in  Detroit,  was  lieutenant-colonel  of  the  Canadian 
militia,  and  to  him  one  of  these  orders  was  directed.  He  undertook  the  collec- 
tion of  the  details  of  the  militia  as  requested  and  sent  out  orders  to  all  captains 
and  other  militia  officers  to  report  to  him  at  once  the  state  of  the  companies. 
Many  of  these  officers  reported  as  requested  and  copies  of  their  reports  were 
forwarded  to  Niagara.  The  conduct  of  Askin  would  have  been  subject  to  censure 
on  the  part  of  the  government  if  it  had  ever  been  discovered.  It  is  even  possible 
that  it  might  have  been  considered  treasonable.  It  is  certain  that  suspicion 
rested  upon  him,  but  it  is  very  probable  that  most  of  his  actions  were  concealed 
from  the  authorities. 


It  was  at  this  time  also  that  the  papers  prepared  by  Askin  for  those  who  did 
not  wish  to  become  citizens  of  the  United  States  were  given  to  Audrain  to  be 
recorded.  These  petitions,  or  certificates,  caused  a  counter  petition  to  be 
drawn  up  and  forwarded  to  Secretary  Winthrop  Sargent,  of  which  the  follow- 
ing is  a  copy: 

"Detroit,  12  July,  1797. 

"Sir: — We,  the  undersigned,  magistrates  and  sheriff  of  Wayne  County,  in 
the  territory  of  United  States  of  America,  impressed  with  every  degree  of  at- 
tachment to  the  government  of  the  United  States  and  most  sincere  wishes  for 
the  safety  of  this  country  and  its  inhabitants,  have  sincerely  to  regret  its  present 
situation,  and  for  its  safety  disagreeable  apprehensions  from  the  dangers  that 
at  present  menace  its  tranquility  from  an  approaching  enemy  as  well  as  from 
internal  and  increasing  factions. 

"Twelve  months  ago  we  knew  of  no  more  than  ten  of  the  inhabitants  that 
were  avowed  British  subjects,  they  remaining  here  for  one  year  after  the  evacua- 
tion of  the  place  by  the  British,  during  that  period  they,  with  some  other  emis- 
saries, found  means  by  indirect  insinuations  and  circulating  papers,  to  corrupt 
the  minds  of  the  inhabitants  and  alienated  their  affections  from  the  government 
of  the  States  to  such  a  degree  that  it  was  with  difficulty  that  the  sheriff  could 
procure  a  jury  of  real  citizens  to  attend  the  last  sessions,  or  bailiffs  to  do  their 
duty.  Some  scores  (it  is  said  some  hundreds)  of  the  inhabitants  having  signed 
the  said  circulating  papers  declaring  themselves  British  subjects,  which  gives 
us  reason  to  fear  that  little  or  no  dependence  can  be  put  on  the  militia  of  the 
country  if  called  upon.     This  being  truly  the  state  of  the  country  we  feel  the 

"Esqrs. " 


greatest  anxiety  for  its  safety.  We  therefore  conceive  it  our  duty  to  transmit 
you  every  part  of  our  apprehension  and  the  causes  exciting  them,  hoping 
that  j'ou  will  see  the  propriety  of  vesting  sufficient  power  in  the  commander- 
in-chief  here  or  the  commanding  officer  for  the  time  being,  to  take  such  steps 
as  may  check  the  progress  of  the  present  prevailing  faction  and  prevent  a 
further  complaint  of  the  inhabitants,  we,  by  experience,  finding  it  out  of  the  power 
of  the  civil  authority  at  present,  to  do  it. 

"James  Abbott,  Jr., 
"James  May, 
"Nathan  WilHams, 
"Charles  F.  Girardin, 
"Joseph  Voyer, 
"Patrick  McNiff, 
"Herman  Eberts, 
"John  Dodemead 
"Joncaire  Chabert, 
"Antoine  Beaubien, 
"Robert  Abbott, 
"Daniel  Sawyer." 

These  were  exciting  times  in  Detroit.  A  newspaper  in  the  place  would  have 
been  filled  with  interesting  reading  matter  concerning  local  events.  But  no 
such  paper  existed,  and  the  history  of  the  times  must  be  collected  from  a  variet}' 
of  sources  and  pieced  together  to  make  a  storj'  of  the  times.  It  cannot  be 
wondered  if  some  of  the  important  events  are  omitted,  because  we  do  not  know 
where  to  search  for  the  information. 

The  French  government,  through  General  Collot,  was  striving  to  create  dis- 
sensions among  the  French  of  Canada,  had  visited  the  Ohio  countrj-  and  planned 
to  visit  Detroit.  He  had  the  surrounding  country  mapped,  also  the  Detroit 
River  mapped  and  sounded  for  his  use  for  military  purposes. 

An  attempt  was  made  to  obtain  the  entire  northern  part  of  Ohio  west  of  Cuya- 
hoga River  (Cleveland)  for  John  Askin  and  others  who  claimed  ownership 
under  deeds  from  the  Indian  tribes.  They  likewise  set  up  claim  under  similar 
conveyances  to  the  lands  along  the  Miami  (Maumee)  River,  and  were  urging 
their  claims  before  members  of  Congress  and  others  of  influence  in  the  East. 

The  same  John  Askin,  with  Ebenezer  Allen  and  others,  had  prepared  a  peti- 
tion to  be  allowed  to  purchase  the  entire  lower  peninsula  of  Michigan,  and 
believing  that  they  could  obtain  their  desires  by  corrupting  Congi'ess,  they 
undertook  to  bribe  some  of  the  members.  In  this  they  were  detected,  theii-  plans 
disclosed,  and  failure  followed  as  a  matter  of  course. 


The  feelings  between  the  American  and  British  soldiers  stationed  along  the 
borders  of  the  Detroit  River  were  not  the  most  cordial  and  deserters  were  passing 
from  one  side  to  the  other  to  the  annoyance  of  the  authorities  of  both  sides. 
All  of  these  affairs  were  coming  together  to  make  up  a  period  of  excitement  never 
exceeded  in  the  historj^  of  the  village  before  that  time. 

In  the  orderly-  books  kept  at  the  post  bj-  General  James  Wilkinson  are  evi- 
dences of  disaffection  among  the  troops,  promoted  possibly  by  Askin's  petition. 
Under  date  of  July  12th  is  the  following  general  order: 


"The  desertion  of  the  troops  may  be  ascribed  chiefly  to  the  scenes  of  drunk- 
edness  produced  by  the  unrestrained  sales  of  liquor  which  have  been  permitted, 
and  to  the  seductive  arts  of  persons  ill  disposed  to  the  government  of  the  United 
States.  To  remedy  evils  replete  with  consequences  so  destructive  to  the  natm-al 
interests  and  so  subversive  of  subordination  and  discipline,  all  persons  are  hereby 
prohibited  selHng  liquor  of  any  kind  to  the  troops,  except  under  the  written 
permission  of  Lieutenant  Colonel  Commandant  Strong." 

It  was  also  stated  that  "any  person  detected  in  attempting  to  inveigle  a 
soldier  from  his  duty,  or  in  advising  him  to  desert,  shall  receive  50  lashes  and 
be  drummed  out  of  the  fortifications." 

The  continued  desertions  from  the  American  and  British  troops  occasioned 
an  additional  order  on  the  same  subject  on  July  15th,  as  follows: 

"The  soldier  who  deserts  his  colors,  of  whatever  country  or  nation,  forfeits 
the  protection  of  all  good  men.  To  discourage  so  foul  an  offense  the  com- 
mander-in-chief orders  all  deserters  from  the  corps  of  his  Britannic  majesty  to 
depart  the  town  in  24  hours.  He  forbids  positively  the  enlisting  of  deserters 
from  the  troops  of  any  nation,  and  he  assures  all  persons  of  this  character  that 
they  will  find  no  asylum  within  the  sphere  of  his  authority.  But  as  it  has  been 
represented  to  him  that  several  privates  seduced  from  the  service  of  the  United 
States  when  in  the  state  of  intoxication  by  designing,  vicious  persons,  have  re- 
pented of  the  foul  transgression,  and  are  deterred  from  returning  to  duty  by 
the  fear  of  punishment  only — now  to  give  to  all  absentees  a  fair  opportunity 
of  testifying  their  contrition,  and  to  make  atonement  for  their  crimes,  he  hereby 
offers  full  pardon  to  all  such  as  may  surrender  themselves  to  some  oflficer  of  the 
troops  of  the  United  States  within  30  days  from  these  presents." 

General  Wilkinson,  on  the  16th  of  July,  sent  a  long  letter  to  the  magistrates 
of  the  western  district  of  Canada,  requesting  them  to  prevent  desertions  from 
the  American  Army  as  far  as  possible  and  to  assist  him  in  maintaining  the 
standing  of  his  army,  as  well  as  of  their  own,  in  opposition  to  their  common 
foe — the  French — and  to  preserve  order  along  the  border.  The  Canadian 
magistrates,  in  their  reply,  offered  a  hearty  cooperation  with  General  Wilkinson 
as  far  as  their  powers  would  permit,  and  stated  that  the  general's  communication 
should  at  once  l)e  laid  before  the  administrator  of  the  province. 


Public  sentiment  was  running  strongly  against  Mr.  Askin  and  his  party. 
He  was  arrested,  or  was  served  with  a  summons  as  the  commencement  of  a 
suit  against  him.  Unfortunately,  the  files  of  this  suit  have  been  lost,  or  have 
not  yet  come  to  light.  A  letter  from  Mr.  Askin  to  David  W.  Smith  gives  as 
much  information  upon  the  subject  as  can  be  ascertained  at  present.  It  is  as 

"Detroit   August  26,  1797. 

"My  dear  Sir:  Since  writing  to  you  I  have  been  served  with  a  summons, 
the  copy  of  which  I  enclose,  and  beg  you  will  make  it  known  to  his  honor,  the 
administrator,  so  that  I  may  be  furnished  with  advice  how  to  act  before  the 
general  court  is  held  here,  which  I  learn  is  to  be  soon.  The  paper  alluded  to 
— I  sent  you  a  copy  of  it — contained  the  names  of  a  number  of  people  who  made 
their  election  to  continue  British  subjects  and  carried  it  to  the  recorder  to 
have  it  enregistered,  for  which  much  trouble  and  interruption  is  given  to  me. 
I  have  never  before  been  called  before  the  court  about  this  matter  and  asked 


if  I  did  so  or  not.  So  clear  do  I  feel  that  I  had  not  only  a  right  to  do  so,  but 
also  even  advise  subjects  to  continue  under  the  British  government  (which 
I,  however,  did  not  meddle  in)  had  I  been  so  disposed  that  I  must  certainly 
acknowledge  not  only  my  doing  so  but  that  I  was  perfectly  right,  and  that 
it  was  in  conformity  to  the  treaty." 

Askin's  letter  was  given  to  the  Honorable  Peter  Russell,  who  at  the  time 
was  performing  the  duties  of  governor  of  Upper  Canada  in  the  absence  of  the 
governor,  and  his  reply  was  as  follows: 

"West  Niagara  5th  Sept.  1797. 

"Sir:  Mr.  Smith  has  just  sent  to  me  your  letter  of  the  26th  ult.  and  the 
copy  of  the  summons  for  your  appearance  before  the  General  Quarter  Sessions 
of  the  County  of  Wayne  and  a  copy  of  the  letter  from  the  British  inhabitants 
of  Detroit  to  Peter  Audrain  Esq. 

"I  am  extremely  sorry  that  I  do  not  feel  myself  competent  to  give  you 
the  advice  you  desire,  as  your  place,  or  residence,  is  without  the  power  of  my 
jurisiliction,  nor  do  I  see  any  possibility  of  even  the  British  minister's  interfei-ence 
until  you  are  able  to  state  to  his  excellency  the  nature  of  the  offense  you  have 
given  to  the  government  of  the  United  States  and  the  sort  of  notice  which  has 
been  taken  of  it.  This  I  presume  to  advise  you  to  do  without  loss  of  time 
immediately  from  Detroit  as  the  quickest  mode  of  communicating  with  his 

"I  am  Sir, 
Your  most  obedient 
Humble  servant, 
Peter  Russell. 
"John  Askin,  Esq. 
"British  Merchant  at 
.      Detroit." 

Apparently  Askin  intended  at  this  time  to  remove  to  Canada,  for  he  ob- 
tained permission  from  Mr.  Selby  and  Colonel  McKee  to  remove  his  goods  into 
a  house  belonging  to  Colonel  McKee  at  Sandwich,  which  was  then  partly  occu- 
pied by  a  Mr.  Wheaton.  However,  the  change  in  the  aspect  of  affairs  at  Detroit 
induced  him  to  remain  in  that  place  and  face  the  storm,  and  it  was  not  until 
several  years  later  that  he  finally  removed  to  the  home  where  he  died,  a  short 
distance  above  the  modern  Walkerville,  at  a  place  called  by  him  Strabanc. 

The  summons  served  on  Askin  was  returnable  before  the  court  of  quarter 
sessions,  but  a  case  of  so  much  importance  woidd  ultimately  find  its  waj-  to 
the  circuit  court  or  the  general  com't.  The  two  latter  courts  were  presided  over 
by  the  territorial  judges  appointed  by  the  President.  One  of  the  judges  was 
required  to  hold  court  in  Detroit  once  each  year,  and  the  court  presided  over 
by  the  single  judge  was  called  the  circuit  court  and  when  the  three  judges  set 
.671  banc  it  was  termed  the  general  court. 

Outside  of  the  local  attorneys  above  named,  the  lawyer  most  famous  through 
the  Northwest  was  Jacob  Burnet,  of  Cincinnati.  Judge  Burnet  came  to  Detroit 
at  every  session  of  the  circuit  court  held  here  before  the  admission  of  Ohio 
to  statehood  in  1803.  The  governor's  son,  Arthur  St.  Clair,  Jr.,  was  also  an 
attorncy-at-law.  Askin  now  sought  to  enlist  both  of  these  men  in  his  interest 
by  employing  them.  He  sent  a  confidential  clerk,  Robert  Nichol,  to  Cincinnati 
with  a  retainer  for  both  St.  Clair  and  Burnet.     Burnet  was  not  at  home  and 


consequently  was  not.  seen  by  Nichol,  but  a  retainer  for  him  was  left  with  the 
governor  and  to  the  latter  a  full  statement  of  the  situation  was  made  by  Nichol. 
A  letter  from  young  St.  Clair  was  borne  by  Nichol  to  Mr.  Askin,  that  assisted 
him  getting  out  of  his  difficulty.  He  was  also  greatly  assisted  by  Mr.  Elijah 
Brush,  who  subsequently  married  Askin's  daughter,  Adelaide.  Arthur  St. 
Clair's  letter  was  as  follows: 

Cincinnati  Sept.  23,  1797. 
"Dear  Sir:  I  had  the  pleasure  of  receiving  yours  of  the  29th.  ultimo,  by 
Mr.  Nichol.  I  am  extremely  sorry  for  the  want  of  harmony  which  is  but  too 
evident  amongst  you,  but  I  flatter  myself  that  all  will  yet  be  right.  I  have  re- 
fused your  retainer,  fearful  that  the  business  to  which  it  relates  may  oblige  me 
to  act  in  my  official  capacity,  at  the  same  time  I  would  observe  that  I  think  you 
need  not  give  yourself  any  uneasiness  about  the  affair.  Mr.  Nichol  had  instruc- 
tions to  retain  Mr.  Burnett.  He  has  accordingly  left  a  fee  with  me  for  that 
purpose,  as  he  is  not  at  present  here.  If  I  shall  be  able,  and  there  is  any  necessity 
I  will  assist  him  with  pleasure,  though  the  paper  alluded  to  as  containing  the 
declaration  of  your  intention  of  remaining  British  subjects  (as  at  present  ad- 
vised) there  will  be  little  occasion  of  trouble. 

"I  am  dear  Sir 
Yours  respectfully, 
A.  St.  Clair." 

A  short  time  after  this  Mr.  Askin's  name  was  placed  upon  the  United  Empire 
list  as  one  of  the  Canadian  patriots  of  the  Revolution,  and  at  a  still  later  date 
(February,  1798)  he  was  granted  a  license  by  Winthrop  Sargent,  acting  governor, 
to  maintain  a  ferrj'  across  the  river  at  Detroit,  thus  showing  that  he  retained 
the  good  will  of  the  authorities  on  both  sides  of  the  river. 


The  troubles  General  Wilkinson  encountered  at  this  time  forced  him  to  put 
the  settlement  under  martial  law.  He  issued  the  following  proclamation  for 
that  purpose.  The  proclamation  follows  the  "general  order"  of  the  same  date, 
with  some  additional  directions. 

"By  James  Wilkinson,  Brigadier  General  and  Commander  in  Chief  of  the 
Troops  of  the  United  States. 


"To  guard  the  National  Interests  against  the  Machinations  of  its  enemies, 
secret  or  covert,  Foreign  or  Domestic, — to  baffle  the  Arts  of  Seduction  which 
have  led  to  numberless  desertions  from  the  Public  Service  and  to  restrain  licen- 
tiousness, and  the  infamous  habits  of  drunkeness  encouraged  among  the  Troops 
by  the  disorderly  conduct  of  the  venders  of  Ardent  Spirits. 

"The  Commander  in  Chief  thinks  it  a  duty  appurtenant  to  the  high  trust 
reposed  in  him,  a  duty  of  indispensable  obligation  to  declare  Martial  Law  within 
the  line  of  the  Guards  and  limits  of  the  Fortifications  of  the  place,  and  he  hereby 
in  virtue  of  his  legitimate  authority,  in  conformity  to  the  customs  of  armies, 
and  to  the  established  principles  and  precedents  declares  that  all  persons  resort- 
ing to  or  residing  within  the  limits  aforesaid  from  and  after  the  date  of  these 
presents  shall  be  considered  followers  of  the  army  and  treated  accordingly 
without  respect  to  persons  or  Allegiance.    It  is  at  the  same  time  declared  that 


no  hindrance  will  be  opposed  to  the  functions  of  the  civil  magistrates  and  the 
due  process  of  the  Law  of  the  Territory. — 

"Given  at  Head  Quarters 
Detroit  12  July  1797 
"By  Command  (Signed)  James  Wilkinson. 

(Signed)  Lt.  Lovell— 
Major  Brigade." 

The  issuance  of  this  proclamation  at  once  aroused  the  British  element  in 
the  village  and  the  following  protest  was  sent  to  General  Wilkinson  a  few  days 

"The  Petition  of  sundry  British  Magis- 
trates, Merchants  and  others  holding 
property  residing  in  and  resorting  to  the 
Town  of  Detroit.  To  His  Excellency 
James  Wilkinson  Esquire  General  and 
Commander  in  Chief  of  the  Armies  of 
the  United  States  of  America  &  &  &  & 
"Humbly  Sheweth 

"That  your  Petitioners  having  great  Confidence  in  the  Faith,  Justice  and 
Humanity  of  the  American  Government,  and  sensible  to  the  Zealous  Attach- 
ment of  its  Citizens  to  the  Civil  and  Political  rights,  as  Established  by  Law 
could  not  behold  with  indifference  your  Excellencys  Proclamation  (bearing  date 
Detroit  12  Julj'  1797)  abridging  them  and  j'our  Petitioners  of  many  invaluable 
priviledges  flowing  as  well  from  the  principles  of  the  free  Government  as  from 
the  sacred  sources  of  the  public  and  solemn  Treaty. 

"That  under  the  influence  of  these  impressions  your  Petitioners  indulged 
the  pleasing  hope  that  the  public  virtue  of  the  Magistracy  would  have  made 
such  applications  to  your  Excellency  as  might  have  produced  some  Mitigation 
of  the  Proclamation  in  question,  disappointed  however  in  their  hopes  and  urged 
by  the  duty  which  they  owe  to  themselves  and  to  their  Correspondents,  and 
encouraged  by  the  liberality  and  Candor  of  your  Character,  your  Petitioners 
have  ventured  notwithstanding  the  peculiarity  of  their  situation  as  Foreigners 
to  submit  to  your  Excellency  the  following  Statements. 

"1st — That  the  Town  of  Detroit  ever  since  the  first  establishment  has  been 
generally  governed  by  the  Civil  Laws  of  the  Society  to  which  it  belonged,  that 
Martial  Law  as  a  System  has  never  been  established  therein  even  during  the 
periods  of  Hostilities,  the  Acts  of  the  Legislature  of  Canada  prove  the  foi-mcr, 
and  living  testimonies  are  not  wanting  to  prove  the  latter,  it  becomes  therefore  a 
fair  inference  that  the  Town  of  Detroit  enjoys  at  least  a  prescriptive  Charter 
of  rights  incompatible  with  the  Idea  of  Military  Garrison. 

"2nd — That  the  Laws  of  the  United  States  having  in  great  measure  pi'o- 
vided  and  its  Constitution  possessing  energy  sufficient  'for  guarding  the  Nation's 
Interests'  and  it  follows  that  whatever  measures  Suspend  or  Abrogate  those 
legal  established  and  inherent  principles  of  the  Constitution,  such  Measures 
must  so  far  innovate  on  the  common  rights  of  the  Citizens,  but  it  appears  to 
your  Petitioners  that  the  Proclamation  in  Question  abolishes  in  many  important 
cases  the  free  operation  of  these  Maxims,  so  far  therefore  your  Petitioners 
humbly  conceive  that  the  Proclamation  assumes  a  dispensing  Power. 

",3rd — That  by  the  Treaty  between  Great  Britain  and  America  it  is  provided 
])}'  the  11th  Article  that  generally  the  Merchants  and  Traders  on  both  sides 


shall  enjoy  the  most  complete  protection  and  security  for  their  Commerce, 
but  subject  always  to  the  Laws  and  statutes  of  the  two  Countries  respectively 
so  says  the  Treaty,  but  the  Proclamation  declares  that  we  are  subject  to  Martial 
Law,  that  we  are  considered  as  followers  of  the  Army  and  shall  be  treated  accord- 
ingly without  respect  to  persons  or  allegiance.  Your  Petitioners  believing 
that  under  existing  circumstances  no  implication  favorable  to  the  Proclamation 
can  flow  from  the  Laws  or  Statutes  of  the  United  States  conclude  that  it  of 
course  tallys  neither  with  the  true  spirit  or  letter  of  the  Treaty. 

"4th — That  under  the  pressure  of  great  public  Calamity  such  as  intestine 
or  foreign  war,  natural  and  Civil  rights  are  often  suspended  by  the  Legislative 
authority  and  under  such  circumstances,  the  Energy  of  Individuals  and  of 
constituted  Authorities  may  be  laudable  and  necessary. — these  Acts  are  pard- 
onable only  from  necessity,  not  defended  upon  principle;  but  in  the  moment  of 
peace  and  in  the  vicinity  of  a  friendl.v  Nation,  your  Petitioners  are  sorry  that 
they  cannot  divine  on  what  principles  of  expediency  a  suspension  of  such  rights 
can  be  justified. 

"5th — That  Fort  Lernault,  and  the  Citadel  being  the  only  two  spots  where 
the  Military  Government  has  generally  been  exercised,  that  your  Petitioners, 
possessing  perhaps  three-fourths  of  all  the  property  either  of  a  fixed  or  movable 
nature  within  the  Town  of  Detroit  residing  there  for  the  purposes  of  their  Trade 
under  the  protection  and  condition  of  a  public  Treaty  having  not  injured  or 
wished  to  injure  the  United  States,  cannot  but  contemplate  their  present  sit- 
uation in  a  light  as  repugnant  to  the  feelings  and  Dignity  of  human  nature 
as  to  the  mutual  harmony  and  friendship  so  strongly  to  be  cultivated  between 
Great  Britain  and  America. 

"Yet  this  Proclamation  has  been  acted  on,  some  have  been  tried  by  Courts 
Martial,  some  punished  and  others  are  said  to  be  flying  from  their  homes  and 
property  to  avoid  the  Malice  and  Machinations  of  the  vilest  of  mankind,  Spies 
and  Informers. 

"Your  Petitioners  however  aware  of  the  danger  arising  from  the  General 
and  indiscriminate  permission  to  vend  Spiritous  liquors,  do  not  consider  the 
Garrison  order  ascertaining  the  mode  of  selling  ardent  Spirits  to  Soldiers  in- 
jurious to  their  interests. 

"From  a  review  of  the  foregoing  Statements  your  Petitioners  indulge  a 
hope  that  j^our  Excellency  will  be  pleased  to  modify  and  relinquish  as  much 
of  the  present  System  of  Martial  Law  as  is  consistent  with  your  prudence, 
wisdom  and  authority.  They  wish  at  the  same  time  to  be  perfectly  understood 
that  nothing  herein  contained  is  meant  to  reflect  on  your  Excellencys  Com- 
mand, or  on  the  Government  of  the  United  States.  They  also  have  a  pleasure 
in  assuring  your  Excellency  that  nothing  is  nearer  their  hearts  than  respect 
and  obedience  to  the  Laws  of  the  LTnited  States,  and  also  to  the  cultivation 
of  every  Act  of  Friendship  and  good  Will  towards  its  Citizens  and  they  have 
the  Honor  to  be  with  great  respect  and  Esteem, 

"Your  most  obedient 
Oblidged  and  Humble  Servants 

"John  Askin, 
"George  Sharp, 
"George  Leith, 
"James  Leith, 
"Angus  Mcintosh, 


"Alexr.  Duff, 
"John  McGregor, 
"Richd.  Pattinson, 
"Robt.  Innis, 
"George  Meldrum, 
"William  Park, 
"John  Reid, 
"James  Fraser, 
"William  Hands, 
"J.  Borrel, 
"James  McDonell, 
"Detroit  "James  Mcintosh." 

24  July  1797" 
The  reply  of  the  commandant  has  not  yet  been  found,  but  the  second  letter 
of  John  Askin  followed  at  once.    It  read: 

"Detroit  31  July  1797. 

"We  are  duly  honored  with  your  answer  to  our  Petition  of  24  Current; 
and  have  to  thank  you  for  your  remarks  and  observations  thereon,  its  trans- 
mission to  the  President  of  the  United  States  is  a  circumstance  which  we  con- 
template with  the  utmost  complacency  and  satisfaction. 

"Improper  as  it  may  be  for  us  to  intrude  upon  your  time,  yet  we  cannot 
but  observe  on  an  important  Article;  That  the  fifth  paragraph  of  your  answer 
contains  matter  which  we  are  ready  to  do  away  by  fair  argument  and  proof 

"Unwilling  however  to  shew  a  wide  difference  of  opinion  on  almost  every 
point  of  the  present  subject  of  discussion,  it  perhaps  would  better  become  us 
not  to  have  already'  presumed  so  much  but  rather  acquiesce  in  the  present 
.unpropitious  sj'stem  with  the  calm  resignation  of  men  as  emulous  to  maintain 
the  Tranquility  and  safety  of  the  State,  as  ardent  in  the  Love  of  all  the  natural, 
indefeasible,  and  defined  liberties  of  the  people  with  whom  they  live. 
"We  have  the  Honor  to  be  with  great  respect 



"John  Askin, 
"George  Sharp, 
"  William  Harfy, 
"George  Leith, 
"Alexr.  Duff, 
"James  Leith, 
"To  His  Excellency  "John  McGregor, 

James  Wilkinson  Esquire  General  '  "Richard  Pattinson, 

Commanding  the  Armies  of  the  "  William  Park, 

United  States."  "James  Fraser, 

"James  McDonell, 
"Angus  Mcintosh, 
"James  Mcintosh, 
"  Wm.  Hands, 
A  petition  was  then  made  directly  to  the  War  Department  and  after  con- 
siderable delay  the  following  reply  was  made  to  the  petitioners,  Louis  Beaufait, 
James  I\Iay.  Jo.seph  Voyer  and  Charles  F.  Girardin. 

Early  merchant  and  trader 


"War  Department,  8  August,  1799. 

"I  have  the  honor  to  acknowledge  the  receipt  of  your  representation  relative 
to  the  conduct  of  the  Military  Commandant  at  Detroit. 

"I  can  assm-e  you  it  is  the  wish  of  the  Government  to  preserve  to  the  Civil 
Authority  its  rights  everywhere  throughout  the  Territory  of  the  United  States 
and  in  no  instance  to  countenance  encroachments  upon  those  rights  by  the 

"That  the  conduct  of  the  Commandant  at  Detroit  may  undergo  a  regular 
and  due  investigation,  I  shall  refer  your  remonstrance  to  Major  General  Alex- 
ander Hamilton,  who  I  have  no  doubt  will  take  proper  measures  to  insure  in 
future  a  perfect  propriety  of  conduct  in  the  Military. 

"I  have  however  to  observe  that  a  Military  Commandant  has  not  only 
authority,  but  that  it  is  particularly  enjoined  upon  him  to  restrain  the  Soldiery 
in  whatever  may  lead  to  Insubordination,  endanger  a  Garrison  or  prove  injurious 
to  themselves,  that  with  these  views  he  may  prevent  a  too  frequent  intercourse 
with  the  Citizens  inhabiting  at  or  near  his  post,  which  by  affording  oppor- 
tunities of  intemperance  would  produce  the  worst  of  consequences,  and  that 
generally  he  has  a  right  to  give  and  enforce  on  his  men  under  his  command 
such  orders  as  are  necessary  to  their  well  being  and  the  good  of  the  service. 

"I  enclose  a  copy  of  the  rules  and  articles  for  the  better  government  of  the 
troops  of  the  United  States,  to  which  is  annexed  several  military  laws,  among 
these  'An  Act  for  the  better  organizing  the  troops  of  the  United  States  and  for 
other  purposes'  passed  3rd  of  March  last. 

"The  4th  section  of  this  Act,  you  will  observe  provides  an  exemption  from 
personal  arrests  for  any  debt  or  contract— for  all  non-commissioned  officers 
privates  and  musicians  who  are  and  shall  be  inlisted,  and  extends  the  same 
provisions  to  the  militia  or  other  corps  who  may  at  any  time  be  in  the  actual 
service  of  the  United  States. 

"To  prevent  this  law  from  operating  injuriously  to  the  citizens  it  will  be 
incumbent  upon  them  to  avoid  credit  to  the  soldiers. 

"I  am  & 

"James  McHemy. 

"To  Louis  Boufet  (Beaufait) 
"James  May, 

"Joseph  Voyer,  •  Esquires. 

"Charles  Eras  Gerardin  (Girardin)." 


I  have  found  some  evidences  of  another  interesting  episode  in  the  local 
history  early  in  the  year  1797.  Not  being  able  to  explain  fully  the  affair  at 
present,  I  can  give  only  the  substance  of  the  papers  that  have  come  into  my 
possession  relating  to  James  May,  one  of  the  judges.  A  hoUday  ball  had  been 
given  on  the  2Sth  of  December,  1796,  which  was  attended  by  some  of  the  judges 
and  on  account  of  which  some  of  the  judiciary  attendants  had  been  ridiculed. 
It  appears  that  some  one  had  posted  up  a  notice  or  proclamation  which  was 
considered  a  libel  on  the  court  or  on  the  members  who  attended  the  ball.  As 
there  was  no  printing  press  in  Detroit  or  in  its  neighborhood,  this  notice  must 
have  been  in  writing  and  only  a  few  copies  could  have  been  circulated. 


Judge  May  acfuseil  William  Smith  and  Robert  Forsyth  of  publishing  the 
libel,  or  of  having  a  hand  in  it.  Both  of  these  men  signed  the  declaration  which 
John  Askin  passed  around,  declining  to  become  citizens  of  the  United  States. 
Both  men  asserted  their  innocence  of  the  libel  and  resolved  to  make  Judge 
May  prove  his  charge  or  answer  for  it.  Each  wrote  a  letter  to  the  judge,  and 
as  thoy  are  nearly  alike,  one  only  need  be  given.     It  is  as  follows: 

"Detroit  Jany.  7,  1797. 

"I  have  been  informed  that  you  have  taken  the  liberty  of  publickly  accusing 
me  as  an  accomplice  in  a  libel  lately  published  at  this  place.  I  insist  immediately 
to  know  your  reasons  for  that  presumption,  otherwise  I  must  take  measures 
to  clear  my  character  in  the  eyes  of  those  you  were  pleased  to  prejudice  in  it. 

"Robert   Forsyth. 
"James  May  Esqr. 


In  addition.  Smith  requested  the  judge  to  meet  him  at  Mr.  Dodcmead's 
in  the  evening  to  settle  the  matter,  and  ended  his  letter  with  a  statement  that 
he  would  wait  at  Dodemead's  till  eight  o'clock  in  the  evening. 

Dodemead's  was  a  famous  resort,  inn  or  boarding-house,  whatever  it  might 
be  termed,  located  on  St.  Ann  Street,  near  the  southeast  corner  of  the  present 
Jefferson  Avenue  and  Shelby  Street.  St.  Ann  Street  was  very  narrow  at  this 
point,  not  more  than  fifteen  feet,  and  the  house  of  John  Dodemead  was  located 
within  the  limits  of  the  present  Jefferson  Avenue.  It  was  here  that  the  courts 
were  held  in  later  times  and  was  the  rendezvous  for  all  the  citizens  who  wished 
to  spend  the  evening  in  convivial  company.  At  this  time  the  courts  were  held 
in  the  house  of  Thomas  Cox. 

Judge  May  was  a  large,  heavy  man,  weighing  more  than  three  hundred 
pounds.  His  avoirdupois  was  not  in  excess  of  his  dignity  as  a  judge,  and  he 
•considered  it  beneath  his  official  position  to  reply  to  either  Forsyth  or  Smith. 
If  he  was  in  the  habit  of  visiting  Dodemead's,  he  abstained  at  this  time,  even 
at  the  risk  of  displeasing  Mr.  Smith.  The  latter  was  on  hand  at  the  appointed 
hour  and,  not  finding  the  judge,  he  thought  the  matter  over  for  a  night  and  the 
next  morning  sent  the  following  note: 

"I  was  not  a  little  surprised  at  your  non-appearance  last  night  at  Mr.  Dode- 
mead's per  my  request  to  clear  up  the  aspersion  you  have  unjustly  said  against 
me,  that  I  was  the  writer  of  the  libel  taking  off  characters  at  the  ball  of  28th 
ult.,  which  unjust  assertion  of  yours  I  beg  to  have  done  away  between  this  and 
12  o'clock,  as  my  character  is  hurt  by  it.  Any  place  you  will  appoint  between 
the  hours  before  mentioned  (excepting  your  own  house)  I  shall  repair  to,  with 
a  couple  of  friends.  As  I  would  be  sorry  to  doubt  your  being  a  gentleman,  I 
hope  you  will  pay  attention  to  this  letter,  if  not  I  shall  take  the  liberty  of  ex- 
posing this  and  former  letter  to  public  sight,  that  your  character  may  be  seen 
into,  my  situation  at  present  not  permitting  me  to  take  any  further  action. 

"William  Smith. 
"Saturday  morning,  10  o'clock. 

"James  May,  Esqr." 

This  might  have  been  accepted  as  a  challenge  to  the  field  of  honor,  not 
by  any  means  the  last  of  such  challenges  that  were  .sent  and  accepted  in  Detroit. 


It  was  not,  however,  accepted  by  Judge  May,  and  both  persons  lived  in  Detroit 
many  years  after  this  event  had  become  only  a  memory. 


As  an  evidence  that  there  was  no  exemption  from  levj^  and  sale  on  execution, 
there  is  a  paper  of  some  interest  signed  by  twelve  men  who  might  have  been 
chosen  as  appraisers  or  as  a  jury.  Mathew  Dolson,  whose  name  has  been  men- 
tioned above,  sued  out  an  execution  against  the  property  of  his  debtor,  John 
Embrow  or  Hembrow.    The  report  of  this  jury  of  inquiry  is  as  follows: 

"Detroit  February  16,  1799. 
"We,  the  undersigned  jury,  are  of  the  opinion  that  the  house  of  John  Hem- 
brow  is  worth  the  sum  of  twenty-seven  pounds,  four  shillings  and  eight  pence, 
equal  to  sixtj'-eight  dollars  and  eight  cents,  which  will  be  more  than  sufiicienct 
to  pay  the  execution  of  Mathew  Dolson  against  the  said  Hembrow,  agreeable 
to  law. 

"William  Winslow, 
"Matthew  Donavan, 
"Charles  Curry, 
"Israel  Ruland, 
"F.  D.  Bcllecour." 


The  probate  court  for  the  Western  District  (Canada)  went  into  operation 
before  "evacuation"  in  1796.  The  records  of  that  court,  now  in  Windsor, 
Ontario,  show  that  but  two  estates  were  opened  before  June  11,  1796.  The 
first  was  that  of  Collin  Andrews  and  the  second  William  Macomb.  Both  of 
these  men  lived  and  died  in  Detroit.  As  Macomb  left  a  large  estate  in  Michigan, 
his  estate  was  subsequently  probated  on  the  American  side  of  the  river. 

In  a  paper  recorded  in  the  Registry  Office,  dated  July  12,  1797,  are  the 
following  named  as  magistrates  at  that  time:  James  Abbott,  Jr.,  James  May, 
Nathan  AVilliams,  Charles  Francois  Girardin,  Joseph  Voyer,  and  Patrick  McNiff. 


There  was  a  quarrel  between  members  of  the  court  of  common  pleas  in  1798 
and  some  of  the  justices  refused  to  sit  with  the  others  in  court.  One  of  the 
papers  served  on  Justice  McNiff  reads  as  follows: 

"Prothonotary's  Office,  Detroit  22nd  (?)  1798. 
"Sir:  I  am  sorry  to  have  to  inform  you,  by  the  direction  of  Louis  Beaufait, 
James  May  and  Ch.  fr.  Girardin,  Esquires,  Justices  of  the  Court  of  Common 
Pleas,  that  they  are  determined  not  to  set  with  you  on  the  bench  next  term,  for 
reasons  which  you  may  know  by  applying  to  any  of  them.  I  have  the  honor 
to  be.  Sir, 

"Your  very  humble  and  most  obedient  Ser't. 

"Peter  Audrain,  Clerk. 
"Patrick  McNiff,  Esq." 

The  governor  and  judges  of  the  Northwest  Territory  passed  ten  or  eleven 
acts  in  1797  after  Wayne  County  was  established.  These  were  their  final  acts 
in  that  capacity.  Act  number  three  of  this  series  was  an  act  "vesting  powers 
in  justices  of  the  peace  in  criminal  cases."     It  would  seem  that  the  duties  of 


justices  were  confined  to  criminal  cases  and  they  had  no  jurisdiction  in  civil 


In  1798  Governor  St.  Clair  ordered  the  taking  of  a  census  in  the  territory, 
to  ascertain  whether  there  were  more  than  five  thousand  inhabitants.  As 
pi'ovided  in  the  ordinance  of  1787,  the  territory  could  assume  the  second  grade 
of  government  by  electing  an  assembly  and  choosing  a  council  to  compose  the 
Legislative  Council,  as  soon  as  it  contained  tliat  number  of  people.  The  census 
was  taken  in  Detroit  in  November  (St.  Clair  Papers  Vol.  2,  page  435)  and  the 
requisite  number  was  found  in  the  territory.  Wayne  County  was  entitled  to 
three  members  in  the  assembly,  one  for  each  five  hundred  inhabitants. 

Election  for  one  member  only  was  held  in  Detroit  on  the  third  Monday  in 
December,  1798.  The  contestants  were  James  May  and  Solomon  Sibley.  The 
contest  was  spirited  and  very  earnest.  Mr.  Sibley  was  declared  elected  and 
stai'ted  early  in  January  for  the  seat  of  government  at  Cincinnati.  This  election 
was  contested  bj'  Judge  May,  as  will  be  noted  later. 

The  election  for  the  other  two  members  was  held  in  Detroit  on  January 
15,  1799.  The  letters  of  Oliver  Wiswell  give  some  of  the  details  of  the  election. 
The  result  was  that  Joncaire  received  sixty-eight  votes.  Visger  got  sixty-three. 
Beaufait  got  thirty  and  Wiswell  thirty-seven.  Oliver  Wiswell  and  Jacob  Visger 
were  declared  elected,  but  they  did  not  go  to  Cincinnati  at  this  time. 

The  letter  of  Lewis  Bond  of  January  23,  1799  will  explain  why  the  election 
was  awarded  to  Wiswell  and  not  to  Charles  Francois  Chabert  de  Joncaire,  who 
had  received  more  votes  at  the  election. 

When  the  representatives  convened  at  Cincinnati  February  4,  1799,  they 
chose  ten  citizens  of  the  territorj^  whose  names  were  to  be  sent  to  the  President. 
From  this  list  the  President  was  required  to  select  the  names  of  five  persons 
who,  with  the  approval  of  the  Senate,  were  to  constitute  the  council,  or  upper 
house,  of  the  assembly'. 

The  ordinance  of  1787  provided  for  the  selection  of  the  members  of  the 
council  by  "the  Congress,"  but  with  the  adoption  of  the  Federal  Constitution 
"the  Congress"  ceased  to  exist  and  the  legislative  rights  became  vested  in  a 
President,  Senate  and  House  of  Representatives.  To  meet  this  change  in 
situation  an  act  of  Congress  was  passed  August  7,  1789  entitled  "An  Act  to 
provide  for  the  government  of  the  territory  Northwest  of  the  River  Ohio," 
which  directed  that  "the  President  shall  nominate,  and  by  and  with  the  consent 
of  the  Senate,  shall  appoint  all  officers  which  by  the  said  ordinance  were  to 
have  been  appointed  by  the  United  States  in  Congress  assembled;  and  all 
officers  so  appointed   shall  be   commissioned  by  him." 

For  the  council  President  Adams  selected  Robert  Oliver,  Jacob  Burnet, 
James  Findlay,  Henry  Vanderburgh,  and  David  Vance. 

The  first  meeting  of  the  house  of  assembly  on  February  4,  1799  had  been 
adjourned  immediately  after  it  had  chosen  the  ten  names  for  the  council.  No 
members  of  the  council  could  be  appointed  for  some  time,  as  communication 
was  very  slow,  and  the  assembly  could  not  proceed  to  actual  legislative  business 
until  the  President's  appointments  were  known  and  the  members  collected 
at  Cincinnati. 

The  adjourned  meeting  of  the  assembly  was  called  for  September  16,  1799, 
but  on  that  day  there  were  not  sufficient  members  on  hand  to  form  a  quorum 


and  it  was  not  until  September  23d  that  the  session  opened.  No  members 
from  Detroit  were  present  at  the  opening  session.  Solomon  Sibley  appeared  on 
September  28th  and  Jacob  Visger  first  voted  on  November  ISth,  but  Wiswell 
did  not  appear  at  all. 

One  of  the  laws  enacted  by  this  body  on  December  2,  1799  authorized  justices 
of  the  peace  to  try  cases  brought  for  the  collection  of  small  debts.  This  is  the 
only  act  of  interest  to  us  at  this  time.  The  council  adjourned  on  the  19th  of 

Some  of  the  papers  connected  with  the  election  of  Solomon  Sibley,  several 
being  personal  letters,  the  contest  of  James  May,  also  the  papers  connected  with 
this  session  of  the  assembly  and  the  instructions  to  the  members  from  Detroit, 
and  the  return  of  the  grand  jury  of  March  9,  1797,  are  very  interesting  and 
without  further  comment  are  here  copied  in  full. 

"a  statement  of  facts  for  the  committee  to  whom  was  referred  the 
petition  of  james  may  esq. 

"1st.  Undue  and  corrupt  measures  were  taken  by  the  friends  of  Mr.  Sibley 
to  promote  his  election.  To  establish  this  charge  Mr.  May  expects  to  prove 
that  spirituous  liquors  were  provided  by  the  friends  of  Mr.  Sibley  at  different 
places  in  Detroit  which  were  given  out  liberally  to  all  those  who  could  vote,  or 
procure  votes  for  Mr.  Sibley.  That  several  persons  were  taken  to  the  houses 
where  these  liquors  were  provided,  and  induced  to  drink  till  they  became  in- 
toxicated, and  in  that  state  were  taken  to  the  poll  and  their  votes  received  for 
Mr.  Siblej^,  and  that  some  of  these  persons  have  since  declared  that  had  they 
known  what  they  were  doing  at  the  time  they  would  have  voted  for  Mr.  May. 
He  expects  also  to  prove  that  evident  partiality  was  used  in  the  mode  of  receiving 
the  votes,  by  admitting  all  those  who  declared  in  favor  of  Mr.  Sibley  to  give  in 
their  votes  with  but  little  and  in  some  cases  with  no  examination  and  bj'  exercis- 
ing an  improper  rigor  in  scrutinizing  the  qualifications  of  all  those  who  offered 
in  favor  of  Mr.  IMay.  In  support  of  the  same  charge  he  expects  also  to  prove 
that  a  number  of  discharged  soldiers,  some  of  them  armed  with  clubs,  resorted 
to  the  place  where  the  election  was  held  and  behaved  with  such  insolence  that  it 
became  disagreeable  and  even  dangerous  for  his  friends  to  attend  the  election. 

"2nd.  There  was  a  greater  number  of  illegal  votes  taken  for  Mr.  Sibley 
than  the  majoritj*  returned  in  his  favor. 

"3rd.  Several  persons  possessing  the  legal  qualifications  of  voters  were 
denied  the  pri\'ilege  of  voting  after  having  declared  themselves  in  favor  of  Mr. 

"4th.  Mr.  May  has  been  informed  that  Mr.  Sibley  does  not  possess  a  free- 
hold estate  sufficient  to  qualify  liim  for  a  seat  in  the  House  of  Representatives, 
but  as  a  negative  cannot  be  proved  he  requests  that  Mr.  Sibley  may  be  called 
on  to  show  his  qualifications  in  this  respect. " 

"Detroit,  2.3rd  Jan.,  1799. 
"No.  1. 
"Solomon  Sible.v  Esq., 

"I  have  to  inform  you  that  the  second  election  and  of  which  you  had  knowl- 
edge before  you  left  this  place,  ended  considerably  different  from  what  I  expected. 
You  will  recollect  that  a  meeting  was  held,  by  a  few  of  the  Citizens  of  this  Town 
the  night  before  you  left  this  place,  in  which  it  was  thought  proper  to  support  Col. 


Shibeit  (Chabert)  and  Jacob  Visger,  as  Candidates  in  the  then  approaching 
election.     This  premature  meeting  gave  universal  offense  to  the  English  people. 

"The  inhabitants  of  River  Rouge,  on  whom  solely  depended  the  Count  of  the 
election  (the  other  settlements  not  being  able  to  attend)  thought  it  unjust  that 
they  should  be  bound  by  the  Act  of  a  very  few,  to  support  Candidates  by  no 
means  agreeable  to  their  wishes.  They  therefore  held  a  meeting  at  said  River, 
and  firmly  resolved  that  unless  they  could  vote  for  one  person  of  their  liking, 
they  would  not  vote  at  all. — Their  reasons  were  these: 

"They  said  they  had  already  chosen  one  person  who  was  agreeable  to  their 
wishes,  and  in  whose  integrity  they  had  the  fullest  confidence;  that  if  they  could 
elect  another  person  of  their  wishes,  they  would  be  content,  and  also  join  with 
almost  any  party  in  electing  a  third,  trusting  that  the  exertions  of  two  would 
always  be  able  to  counteract  those  of  only  one. 

"The  next  morning  after  their  meeting  I  was  consulted  by  a  committee  from 
said  meeting  to  know  if  I  would  serve  if  I  was  chosen,  as  I  was  the  person  in  whom 
they  were,  to  a  man,  united. 

"I  gave  them  for  answer  that,  notwithstanding  there  appeared  the  greatest 
inconsistency  in  supporting  Col.  Shibert,  (he  labouring  under  the  same  difficulty 
as  Mr.  ]\Iay)  I  did  not  wish  to  put  myself  in  opposition  to  so  good  a  man;  nor 
would  I  do  it,  but  told  them  that  they  were  at  perfect  liberty  to  do  as  they  pleased 
respecting  me,  and  that  if  I  was  elected  by  the  free  suffrage  of  the  people  I  would 
serve  them  to  the  best  of  my  abilities.  The  first  day  of  the  election  but  25  votes 
were  given  to  all  the  candidates,  who  were  Col.  Shibert,  Mr.  Visger,  Bofait  Jun'r 
(Beaufait)  and  myself.     The  R.  Rouge  did  not  vote  the  first  day. 

"The  second  morning  of  the  election  I  wrote  the  Judges  of  Election  the  follow- 
ing words  verbatim  'Gentlemen,  Notwithstanding  the  gross  absurdity  in  sup- 
porting Col.  Shibert,  the  subscriber  has  no  inclination,  nor  is  it  his  wish,  to  be 
considered  a  candidate  in  the  present  election,  but  is  entirely  willing  that  the 
Election,  as  respects  one  member,  should  (as  he  sincerely  believes  will)  fall  to 
'the  ground. '  Signed,  Wiswell. 

"However  the  people  of  R.  Rouge  were  determined  to  persevere,  and  to  carry 
their  point  with  greater  certainty,  agreed  with  Bofait 's  friends  to  support  him  if 
in  return  thej-  would  support  me  and  as  a  proof  of  such  agreement,  two  or  three 
of  the  R.  Rouge  did  actually  vote  for  me  and  Bofait.  Visger  finding  that  the 
votes  were  going  against  him,  requested  of  several  of  the  principal  persons  of  R. 
Rouge  to  give  their  votes  to  him  and  not  to  Bofait  and  that  in  return  he  would 
give  all  his  influence  to  me,  deeming  it  useless  to  vote  for  Col.  Shibert,  as  he 
would  not  be  eligible  if  elected.  This  being  known  C.  Clemens  and  mj-self,  with 
much  difficulty  prevailed  upon  them  to  give  the  other  vote  to  Visger,  which  they 
did  with  reluctance,  by  which  means  he  got  his  election,  whereas  had  they  thrown 
their  votes  away  on  some  other  person,  I  should  undoubtedly  led  him  in  votes,  and 
he  would  have  had  to  contest  either  Bofait  or  Shibert.  In  return  from  Mr. 
Visger,  we  are  certain  that  he  did  everything  in  his  power  against  me  in  favour 
of  Shibert,  and  altho'  he  voted  for  me  himself,  it  was  purely  necessit.v,  decency 
forbidding  him  to  vote  for  himself.  I  will  throw  no  reflections  upon  Mr.  Visger 
any  farther  than  request  you  to  suspend  your  Judgment  for  the  present  on  what- 
ever insinuations  may  fall  from  that  gentleman,  and  that  I  am  warranted  in 
telling  you  that  Jacob  Visger 's  conduct  has  been  such  in  the  Election  as  that  he 
never  will  be  able  to  obtain  the  suffrages  of  the  English  people  in  the  County  of 
Wayne  at  anv  future  election. 


"Before  the  election  was  closed  Col.  Shibert  came  forward  and  openly  de- 
clined being  a  candidate,  and  at  the  close  of  the  election  Jacob  Visger  and  myself 
were  declared  duly  elected,  certificates  of  which  I  have  gotten. 

"0.  Wiswell." 

"Detroit,  23rd  Jan.,  1799. 
"No.  2. 
"Sol.  Sibley,  Esq., 


"  In  my  other  letter  of  same  date  with  this,  I  gave  you  a  full  and  I  trust,  a  true 
statement  of  the  proceedings  and  event  of  the  election.  I  likewise  informed  you 
that  I  had  gotten  the  Sheriff's  certificate  of  being  duly  elected;  but  from  several 
existing  circumstances  I  have  thought  it  not  prudent  to  come  in  at  present. 

"First,  it  is  pretty  generally  believed  that  the  Session  will  be  compleated 
before  the  Representatives  can  possibly  arrive  owing  to  the  badness  of  roads  and 
the  long  delay  before  starting. 

"Secondly,  I  conceive  the  object  when  obtained  a  mere  burden  rather  than 
office  of  profit. 

"Thirdly,  There  yet  is  some  doubt  whether  Shibert  is  not  eligible,  and  until  it 
is  ascertained  I  think  I  may  as  well  waive  the  matter. 

"But  notwithstanding  the  indifference  with  which  I  view  it,  I  am,  in  duty 
bound  to  my  friends,  bound  to  claim  all  the  privileges  that  are  derived  to  a  free 
people  from  that  part  of  the  Ordinance  of  Congress  which  respects  the  qual- 
ifications of  members  of  Assembly.  But  my  greatest  dependence,  and  on  which 
I  most  rely,  is  that  the  point,  upon  the  decision  of  which  I  must  stand  or  fall, 
will  be  tried  before  the  present  members  arrive. 

"In  the  present  case  it  is  not  a  contest  of  votes,  character,  abilities  or  acquire- 
ments; it  is  a  contest  of  eligibility  only.  That  Colonel  Shibert  has  a  considerable 
majority  of  votes,  that  he  is  a  Gentleman,  and  a  man  of  integrity,  and  every 
other  way  completely  qualified,  to  sustain  the  important  trust  with  honour 
to  himself  and  justice  to  his  Country  and  constituents  is  given  up  on  all  hands. 

"I  contend  that  the  House  of  Assembly  can  no  more  deviate  from  the 
positive  order  of  his  General,  and  furthermore,  whether  there  is  or  is  not  oppo- 
sition to  a  member,  I  conceive  the  House  of  Assembly  are  bound  to  take  the 
Ordinance  and  religiously  pursue  it,  whether  it  effect  friend  or  foe.  This  much 
respecting  the  Election. 

"I  have  only  to  request  that  you  give  us  the  earliest  information  respecting 
the  business  and  also  your  advice  on  the  same.  If  it  so  happens  that  Shibert 
should  not  be  deemed  eligible  I  wish  you  to  write  whether  it  will  be  necessary 
for  me  to  come  in  immediately  or  not,  as  it  will  be  very  bad  traveling  at  that 
time  in  all  probability. 

"I  wish  to  observe  that  the  English  people  are  much  dissatisfied  with  the 
nomination  of  magistrates  that  was  handed  you,  and  think  that  the  remedy 
contemplated  by  the  nomination  will  prove  worse  than  the  disease. 

"I  enclose  to  you  a  petition  handed  me  by  the  people  of  River  Rouge,  the 
object  of  which  you  will  take  into  consideration  and  if  consistent,  you  will 
undoubtedly  support  it.  I  only  observe  that  I  think  Mr.  Cisne  an  honest  man. 
Mr.  Powers  has  signified  to  me  that  he  would  deign  to  accept  of  the  appoint- 
ment of  Chief  Justice  of  Court  of  C.  C.  Pleas  and  Quarter  Sessions  provided 
he  could  have  some  other  appointment  which  would  make  him  a  handsome 


support.  At  his  request  I  signify  the  above  to  you,  as  I  suppose  it  will  be  sig- 
nified some  other  way.  I  will  observe  that  it  is  my  opinion  that  if  justice  cannot 
be  had  only  at  the  hands  of  Blackguards  and  men  of  the  most  corrupt  and 
depraved  principles,  I  am  for  having  no  Justice  at  all. 

"Yours  with  professions  of  respect, 

"OHver  Wiswell." 

"Private—  "Detroit,  24th  January,  1799. 

"My  dear  Sir, 

"I  have  only  time  to  tell  you  that  I'm  in  the  land  of  the  living,  and  hope 
soon  to  hear  from  you,  and  of  your  welfare  and  how  the  business  stands  between 
you,  and  that  Beast  who  went  to  endeavour  to  deprive  you  of  your  just  rights, 
etc.,  etc. — Colonel  Shebert  (Chabert),  Visger  and  Wisewell  (Wiswell)  were 
candidates  at  the  last  election.  If  Shebert  is  not  eligible,  of  course  Wisewell 
takes  the  seat.  He  has  thought  proper  not  to  go  on,  and  I  think  he  is  right, 
for  this  reason,  if  the  Colonel  don't  take  the  seat,  of  course  he  comes  in,  and 
can  go  forward  the  next  Session.  The  Devil  to  pay,  and  no  pitch  hot,  since 
j^ou  took  your  departure  from  hence. 

"I  found  it  necessary  to  put  a  stop  to  the  Inhabitants  selling  liquor  to  the 
Soldiery  without  permission.  I  issued  an  order  and  made  it  known  to  the 
people  within  the  chain  of  my  sentinels,  that  any  person  whatever,  without 
respect  to  persons,  should  be  tried  by  a  General  Court  Martial,  etc.,  etc.  Dode- 
mead  and  others  who  have  often  been  guilty  of  violating  similar  orders,  are 
with  the  assistance  of  that  dam'd  Ptr.  A-d-n,  endeavouring  to  sour  the  minds 
of  the  people,  and  I  am  told  that  they  are  writing  to  the  Governor,  etc.  I 
only  wish  you  to  let  the  old  gentleman  know  what  my  wishes  are  in  regard  to 
my  taking  measures  to  put  a  stop  to  drunkenness,  which  has  been  the  cause 
of  the  desertions  which  has  so  frequently  taken  place,  owing  entirely  to  those 
evil-minded  persons  who  are  constantly  selling  liquors  to  the  men, — however,  I 
have  had  no  drunken  men  since  the  orders  were  published. 

"Pray  write  me,  and  tell  me  all  that  is  going  at  Cincinnati,  and  what  j^ou 
may  get  from  other  parts  of  the  World.  Mrs.  S.  wishes  to  be  remembered  to 
you.  You  have  the  Compliments  of  all  the  Gentlemen  of  the  Garrison  and 

"God  bless  you,  etc.,  etc., 
"I  am,  Dear  Sir, 

With  the  greatest  esteem. 

Your  humble  servant, 
David  Strong." 

"Detroit,  23rd  Feb.,  1799. 
"Dear  Sir: — 

"Since  you  left  this  place  there  has  but  few  political  events  taken  place 
worth  relating  to  you,  but  perhaps  a  statement  of  a  few  of  the  transactions  in 
conducting  the  late  election  may  be  of  service.  The  friends  to  good  order  had 
a  meeting  soon  after  you  left  town  at  Mr.  Dodemead's  for  the  purpose  of  nom- 
inating two  candidates.  Mr.  Ernest,  Esq.,  in  the  chair  and  your  friend  B.  H., 
clerk,  Messrs.  Chebert,  Visgar,  Wiswell  and  Brush  were  proposed  as  suitable 
persons  and  the  meeting  agreed  to  support  the  two  former  and  Wiswell  and 
Brush  pledged  themselves  that  they  would  abide  by  the  nomination  of  our 


meeting,  Chebert  and  Visgar  were  accordingly  elected.  It  was  suggested  on  the 
last  day  of  election  that  the  Judges  could  not  give  Colonel  Chebert  a  certificate 
because  he  was  not  elligible  and  when  the  business  was  made  known  to  him  he 
came  forward  and  declined  accepting  the  office.  Since  the  business  was  settled 
in  this  way  the  Prothonotary  assisted  by  the  Clerk  of  Quarter  Sessions,  Judge 
of  Probate,  etc.,  etc.,  persons  in  office  have  been  busy  in  persuading  Colonel 
Chebert  to  go  to  Cincinnati  and  claim  a  seat  and  have  drawn  up  a  petition 
to  the  House  that  is  signed  by  the  French  inhabitants  to  give  him  a  seat.  I 
am  told  that  the  French  are  to  petition  the  House  of  Assembly  to  establish 
French  laws  in  this  County  the  same  code  that  was  in  use  some  twenty  years 
past.  All  these  things  will  undoubtedly  be  laid  before  you  and  treated  with 
the  attention  they  deserve. 

"I  calculate  to  leave  town  about  the  15th  February  for  New  York  and 
should  be  glad  to  receive  a  letter  from  you  when  in  that  City.  If  you  write 
to  me  the  1st  March  and  direct  your  letter  to  the  care  of  Messrs.  Church  & 
Havens,  it  will  be  received. 

"I  continue  with  sentiments  of  esteem. 

Your  humble  obedient  servant, 

Ben  Huntington." 


"In  the  course  of  your  attendance  on  the  Legislative  Body  for  the  Terri- 
tory, I  wish  to  recommend  to  your  particular  attention  three  interesting  objects. 

"1st.  To  see  that  no  person  in  trade  either  directly  or  indirectly  be  ap- 
pointed a  magistrate  or  Justice  of  the  Common  Pleas  or  Quarter  Sessions,  the 
enormous  frauds  and  abuses  of  public  justice  that  have  been  committed  by 
persons  in  trade  when  vested  with  the  authority  of  a  magistrate  have  been 
the  ruin  of  many  families;  this  I  know  by  experience  to  have  been  the  case 
as  well  in  Lower  Canada  as  here,  the  measure  of  injustice  caused  the  Canadians 
to  murmur  much  and  show  opposition  to  the  Government;  things  being  truly 
stated  to  Lord  Dorchester  he  ordered  that  every  person  being  either  directly 
or  indirectly  in  trade,  if  a  magistrate,  should  immediately  be  cashiered  from 
his  office,  this  measure  has  ultimately  restored  tranquillity  in  the  Provinces 
of  Upper  and  Lower  Canada. 

"2nd.  That  as  all  the  public  sales  at  auction  in  the  Town  of  Detroit  are 
at  present  confined  or  secured  to  one  person  (namely  James  May)  Mr.  Audrain 
having  the  granting  of  Licenses  for  that  pm-pose,  has  already  refused  two  others 
who  had  applied  with  necessary  security,  this  partial  piece  of  conduct  is  mater- 
ially injurious  to  the  interest  of  the  Government. 

"3rd.  That  the  public  Monies  'of  the  County  be  removed  out  of  the  hands 
they  are  now  in  and  put  into  the  hands  of  some  other  person  appointed  by 
His  Excellency.  Wishing  you  a  pleasant  journey,  an  agreeable  reception  and 
safe  return, 

"I  am  most  sincerely  yours, 

Patrick  McNiff, 
"To  Detroit,  6th  Jan.,  1799." 

Solomon  Sibley,  Esq. 

"I  would  further  recommend  your  attention  to  any  application  that  may 
be  made  from  hence  for  having  the  Town  of  Detroit  incorporated  into  a  free 


borough;  which  if  granted  would  have  a  tendance  to  reduce  the  authority  of 
the  Military  at  this  Post,  and  would  be  extremely  injurious  to  the  inhabitants, 
and  to  the  interest  of  the  United  States,  it  being  a  Principal  Barrier  Post,  whose 
safet}^  depends  upon  the  militar_v  having  the  chief  command  here  at  least  for 
many  years  to  come.  Therefore  if  a  proposal  of  the  kind  should  come  forward 
to  His  Excellency  the  Governor,  wish  you  to  use  your  influence  against  that 
privilege  being  granted  for  the  foregoing  reasons. 

"I  being  the  person  in  the  late  Committee  who  moved,  that  all  the  present 
judges  and  justices  be  removed  from  their  present  offices  as  magistrates,  myself 
among  the  number,  and  such  others  as  the  Committee  have  recommended  in 
ova-  place  be  appointed.  In  that  case  have  no  objection  to  act  with  the  new 
appointed  magistrates,  provided  His  Excellency  thinks  proper  to  reappoint 
me  of  the  Quarter  Sessions  and  Common  Pleas,  but  with  the  former  magistrates 
I  cannot  Act  until  I  perceive  they  have  banished  partiality  from  their  breasts 
when  in  office.  I  wish  His  Excellency  to  have  I'eference  to  the  statement  I  gave 
Oilman  when  here  in  Maj-  last. 
"Detroit,  7th  Jan.,  1799. 

"Patrick  McNiff." 

"Detroit,  January  23rd,  1799. 

"This  will  be  handed  you  by  Mr.  Visger  whom  I  return  as  one  of  our  Repre- 
sentatives, and  Oliver  Wiswell  I  return  as  the  other.  Colonel  Shabert  Joncaire 
had  the  highest  number  of  votes,  but  it  was  the  opinion  of  the  Judges  that 
he  was  not  eligible,  he  however  goes  on  to  contest  the  Election.  Mr.  Wiswell 
I  presume  has  written  you  on  the  subject,  it  is  however  the  general  wish  that 
he  may  be  chosen  a  member  of  the  Governor's  Council.  Mr.  May's  name  was 
again  introduced  as  a  candidate,  but  rejected  as  he  had  gone  forward  to  contest 
the  former  election.  I  think  it  but  justice  that  I  should  receive  an  adequate 
compensation  for  my  services  in  holding  the  elections,  as  well  as  the  clerks,  etc. 
The  fees  of  a  sheriff  are  so  trifling  in  this  County  that  they  would  not  support 
a  single  person — you  are  well  acquainted  with  the  nature  and  situation  of  this 
County,  and  as  well  know  the  difficulties  the  Sheriff  has  to  encounter.  Witness 
the  trip  I  had  last  Fall  to  Sandusky  for  nothing  and  attended  with  a  heavy 
expense  a  few  such  jaunts  would  cost  more  than  all  I  could  make  in  a  year, 
in  the  Spring,  I  shall  be  obliged  to  go  or  send  to  Mackinaw,  in  which  if  I  should 
not  succeed,  will  be  a  very  heavy  job  and  make  me  sick  of  the  Office.  I  beg 
your  friendly  assistance  in  this  business,  and  that  you  will  be  pleased  to  inform 
the  Governor  of  my  situation  as  well  as  the  expensive  living  in  this  place.  Per- 
haps the  Governor  can  annex  some  other  office. 

"Mr.  Powers  and  Major  Winston  are  talked  of  as  Judges,  Powers  says  he 
will  accept  of  the  first  seat  on  the  bench  if  he  can  get  some  other  office  to  help 
support  his  family.  It  is  my  opinion  that  there  will  be  no  Court  at  March  Term, 
if  new  Judges  are  not  appointed.  George  McDougall  would  be  a  very  suitable 
person  for  one  of  the  bench.  I  have  no  news  but  what  Mr.  McNiff  has  com- 
municated to  you.     Wishing  you  a  happy  Session,  I  remain  with  much  respect, 


"Lewis  Bond. 
"S.  Sibley,  Esq. 

"P.  S.     Write  me  first  opportunity. 


"I  would  beg  leave  to  mention  Air.  Donovan  for  some  office,  his  education 
and  respectability  entitle  him  to  notice." 

"To  the  Citizens  Electors  of  the  County  of  Wayne. 
"Gentlemen: — 

"Having  accepted  the  appointment  of  Representative  for  the  County  of 
Wayne  in  General  Assembly  of  this  Territory,  conferred  upon  me  by  your  free 
and  independent  suffrages.  Beg  leave  in  this  public  manner  to  suggest,  that  it 
is  customary  in  our  republican  government  and  I  conceive  proper  and  laudable, 
that  the  citizens  convene,  to  consult  upon  subjects  that  materially  concern  their 
interest  and  welfare,  and  that  of  the  public  at  large,  in  order  to  give  to  their 
representative  instructions — as  it  is  the  duty  of  everj^  person,  who  accepts 
the  suffrages  of  the  people,  faithfully  to  attend  to  the  interest  of  his  constituents. 
I  hope  the  citizens  of  the  County  of  Wayne  will  at  all  times  feel  themselves 
ready  and  disposed  to  give  every  needful  information,  so  as  to  enable  me  to 
discharge  my  duty  to  their  satisfaction. 

"As  the  General  Assembly  of  this  Territory  convenes  on  the  22nd  of  January 
next,  I  shall  set  out  for  Cincinnati  within  ten  or  twelve  days.  Trust  the  citizens 
will  not  delay  giving  me  their  sentiments  within  that  time. 

"The  public's  very  humble  servant, 
"Sol.  Sibley." 

"Detroit,  Jan.,  1799. 

"Permit  me  to  congratulate  you  on  your  being  appointed  Secretary  of  Govern- 
ment for  the  Northwest  Territorj^,  and  to  introduce  to  your  acquaintance  my 
friend  James  May,  Esquire,  one  of  the  Justices  of  our  Court  of  Common  Pleas 
and  of  the  General  Quarter  of  the  Peace,  and  also  Sen'r  Cap't  of  our  Mihtia.  My 
official  letter  to  his  Excellency,  the  Governor,  will  inform  you  of  the  cause  of  Mr. 
May's  journey  to  Cincinnati,  and  himself  will  give  you  any  further  explanation 
you  may  wish  for.  It  is  an  unfortunate  circumstance  for  the  inhabitants  of  this 
County  that  either  the  Governor  or  yourself  have  not  visited  Detroit  before  our 
election — matters  would  have  been  conducted  differently,  our  people  would  have 
understood  their  rights  better  and  corruption  would  have  been  avoided,  and 
faction  silenced;  if  you  ever  visit  this  place,  I  will  put  it  in  your  power  to  form  a 
just  opinion  of  our  situation. 

"  Please  to  pres't  etc., 

"Your  very  humble  and  most  obedient 

"Peter  Audrain,  Proth'y. " 
Letter  delivered  to  the  Hon.  William  Harrison,  Esq.,  Secretary  of  the  Terri- 
tory, etc.,  etc.,  Cincinnati. 

"Detroit,  20th  January,  1799. 
"Messrs.  Visgar  and  Wiswell. 


"In  conjunction  with  your  colleague  who  precedes  you  on  this  business,  I 
wish  yoiu"  attention  to  the  instructions  already  given  him  prior  to  his  departure 
from  hence. 


"Next  would  request  your  united  attention  to  tlie  Six  following  particular 
objects  in  which  are  involved  the  happiness  of  the  County  in  general f and  the 
interest  and  safety  of  its  individuals. 

"  1st.  That  when  a  general  Tax  becomes  to  be  levied  on  the  Territory  the 
Infant  State  of  this  County  to  be  duly  taken  into  consideration  and  as  small  a 
proportion  of  that  sum  as  may  be  to  be  allotted  to  its  share;  the  poverty  of  its 
inhabitants  to  be  considered.  People  commencing  to  clear  and  improve  new 
lands  cannot  be  supposed  to  be  wealthy. 

"2nd.  The  Militia  Law  of  the  Territory  as  it  now  stands  does  not  seem  to 
answer  the  intended  purpose,  or  the  disposition  of  the  inhabitants  of  this  County, 
they  are  almost  to  a  man  refractory  nor  will  they  turn  out  either  to  a  muster  or 
exercise  when  called  upon;  the  fine  or  punishment  inflicted  by  that  Law  being  so 
easy  and  inconsiderable  that  they  would  much  sooner  bear  the  consequence  than 
obey  the  orders  or  call  of  their  officers.  The  safety  and  indeed  the  prosperity  of 
the  County  in  a  great  measure  depends  upon  the  good  order  and  discipline  of  the 
inhabitants;  a  thoughtful  person  cannot  labour  with  any  degree  of  courage  when 
he  finds  that  he  cannot  derive  from  the  joint  effort  of  his  neighbours  that  protec- 
tion and  safety  which  ought  ever  to  exist  in  every  civilized  societJ^  The  in- 
habitants of  this  place  have  lived  for  many  years  past  in  a  state  of  licentious 
freedom  nor  can  they  now  bear  to  be  checked;  nothing  but  a  more  severe  law  can 
bring  them  to  order. 

"3rd.  The  situation  of  the  County  with  respect  to  public  roads  to  be  taken 
into  consideration;  the  present  seat  of  Justice  is  at  Detroit;  the  settlements  ex- 
tending thence  northerly  to  upper  end  of  River  St.  Clair  nearly  sixty  miles;  and 
also  from  Detroit  southwesterly  to  foot  of  Rapids  of  the  Miami  River  nearly 
sixty  miles.  To  those  extreme  parts  of  the  settlements,  there  are  but  two  periods 
in  the  year  that  persons  from  the  seat  of  Justice  can  have  access  to  them  without 
the  help  of  a  water  craft,  viz:  in  the  month  of  September  by  land,  and  in  the 
winter  when  the  waters  are  sufficiently  frozen  that  the  ice  will  bear;  otherwise  no 
access  to  those  places  but  by  water. 

"The  County  thus  situated  it  is  clear  that  the  Sheriff  and  other  officers  in  the 
service,  cannot  go  to  those  distant  places  the  greater  part  of  the  year  without  go- 
ing to  the  expense  of  hiring  a  boat  and  hands,  which  would  cost  four  times  the 
mileage  they  are  now  allowed  by  law;  should  no  provision  by  law  be  made  to  give 
relief  to  the  Civil  Officers  of  the  County  in  such  cases,  I  am  apprehensive  we  shall 
not  long  have  any  to  fill  them  offices. 

"4th.  Hitherto  it  has  been  a  matter  of  public  altercation  and  private 
investigation  whether  or  not  British  Subjects  now  residing  amongst  us  and 
possessed  of  fast  taxable  property  within  the  Territory,  were  entitled  to  the 
privilege  of  voting  in  common  with  others  for  a  person  to  represent  their  prop- 
erty within  the  County,  they  having  been  refused  that  privilege  on  a  late  occa- 
sion has  created  some  murmurs  amongst  them.  I  do  not  find  in  any  of  the 
Ordinances  of  the  United  States  or  in  any  part  of  the  Law  of  Nations  referring 
to  Aliens,  that  aliens  have  a  right  to  any  such  privilege.  In  future  to  prevent 
contentions  of  this  nature,  there  would  be  a  propriety  in  the  Legislature  taldng 
up  the  business,  how  far  they  are  or  are  not  entitled  to  any  such  privilege. 

"5th.  The  improper  use  of  the  public  monies  by  its  having  been  applied  to 
the  use  of  a  few  individuals  and  the  enormous  and  unjustifiable  charges  brought 
forward  by  sueli  individuals  as  a  pretext  for  retaining  such  monies  in  their  hands — 


however  it  is  to  be  remarked  that  at  the  Last  term  (December)  of  Common  Pleas, 
that  Judge  Bufait  (Beaufait),  one  of  the  persons  who  had  drawn  largely  out  of  the 
Nominal  Treasurer's  hands,  had  promised  that  he  would  ere  long  replace  what  he 
had  drawn  from  the  Nominal  Treasurer. 

"6th.  Another  species  of  Grievance  which  the  County  universally  labours 
under  and  as  universally  complained  of  and  which  mostly  affects  the  poorer  class 
of  people,  and  requires  the  immediate  attention  of  the  Legislature:  That  is,  the 
great  abuses  arising  from  unjust  weights  and  measures  throughout  the  County. 
The  people  in  Trade  purchasing  of  the  inhabitants  grain  by  the  French  bushel  of 
40  Winchester  quarts  and  sell  out  again  grain  and  salt  by  the  Winchester  bushel 
of  32  quarts. 

"Similar  abuses  are  carried  on  in  the  sale  of  bread  by  the  Bakers,  when  flour  is 
'sold  at  32  per  ct.  the  three  pound  loaf  is  sold  by  them  for  1-6  and  that  loaf  when 
weighed  often  times  falls  short  sometimes  three  and  sometimes  four  ounces  of  its 
proper  weight.  I  have  often  made  the  experiment  by  weighing  the  loaves.  It  is 
in  the  power  of  the  Legislature  to  say  what  the  legal  measure  shall  be  throughout 
the  County ;  it  also  rests  with  the  Legislature  to  vest  in  the  Justices  of  the  Quarter 
Sessions  power  to  regulate  the  price  of  bread  in  proportion  to  the  price  of  flour; 
this  is  the  case  in  all  well  regulated  Towns,  a  similar  regulation  has  hitherto  been 
attempted  to  be  carried  into  effect  here,  but  for  want  of  sufficient  authority  vested 
in  the  Justices  of  the  Sessions  the  attempt  proved  fruitless,  two  of  the  Magistrates 
being  themselves  Bakers  and  two  others  of  them  Shopkeepers. 

"Wishing  you  good  weather  in  your  journey,  an  agreeable  reception  at  Cincin- 
nati, and  a  safe  and  speedy  return  to  this  place, 

"  I  remain  most  sincerely  yours, 

"Patrick  McNifT. 

"If  an  opportunity  should  ofTer  from  Cincinnati  for  this  place,  immediately 
after  some  business  having  been  done  by  the  Assembly,  I  shall  hope  for  your 
friendly  communication  stating  proceedings.  I  have  to  request  that  you  will 
be  pleased  in  all  your  deliberations  and  measures  respecting  yom-  mission  to  the 
Assembly  to  consult  Mr.  Sibley  and  pay  attention  to  his  opinion. 

"P.  McNiff. 

"That  the  Justices  of  the  Quarter  Sessions  be  impowered  to  remove  nuisances 
placed  in  the  public  streets  of  Detroit,  by  many  of  the  inhabitants  placing  gal- 
leries before  their  doors,  which  galleries  project  out  into  the  streets  a  great 
distance  to  the  great  annoyance  and  injury  of  the  public,  the  streets  of  Detroit 
being  so  very  narrow  as  not  to  admit  of  any  such  encroachments. 

"P.  McNiff. 

"The  disorderly  conduct  of  the  inhabitants  by  the  profanation  of  the  Sabbath 
day,  by  horse  racing,  dancing  and  a  thing  too  common  on  that  day  (drunkenness). 
These  vices  require  the  attention  of  the  Legislature  to  pass  a  law  to  suppress 


"The  Grand  Jury  for  the  County  of  Wayne  upon  their  oath  present — viz — • 
That  they  recommend  the  particular  attention  of  the  Bench  to  the  presentation 
delivered  by  the  Grand  Jury  at  the  last  Sessions — 


"That  many  of  the  Gentlemen  of  the  Jury,  had  declared  themselves  before 
the  Court  to  he  British  Subjects,  before  they  have  taken  the  oath  as  Jurors, 
and  that  notwithstanding  they  had  the  mortification  to  hear  reflections  thrown 
against  that  Government,  in  the  charge  from  the  Bench,  which  very  naturally 
hurt  the  feelings  of  many  of  the  Jurors,  and  could  only  tend  to  disturb  the 
harmony  now  existing  between  the  respective  Governments. 

"That  a  complaint  from  William  Smith  was  delivered  to  the  Jury  at  the 
door  of  the  Jury  Room,  which  the  foreman  immediately  laid  before  the  Court 
for  their  opinion  how  to  proceed;  that  the  Court  ordered  the  foreman  to  give 
the  opinion  of  the  Jury  in  writing  upon  the  back  of  the  said  complaint. 

"The  opinion  of  the  Jury  was  that  a  bill  of  indictment  should  be  made  out 
against  the  persons  mentioned  in  the  said  complaint,  which  the  Court  refused, 
and  gave  as  their  reason  that  the  Jury  had  acted  improperly  in  receiving,  or 
giving  their  opinion  upon  any  complaints  which  did  not  come  through  the 
medium  of  the  Court;  although  it  had  been  laid  before  them  previous  to  any 
opinion  being  given. 

"That  the  Grand  Jury  as  representing  the  Jjody  of  the  County;  (although 
not  versed  in  law),  conceive  it  their  duty  to  represent  every  grievance  that 
comes  to  their  knowledge,  from  whatever  channel  they  may  derive  their  infor- 
mation; and  that  upon  requesting  the  Court  for  a  perusal  of  the  charge  delivered 
to  the  Jury  from  the  Bench,  as  a  regulation  of  their  conduct,  it  was  refused  them. 
"That  it  is  the  opinion  of  the  Jury,  that  the  ofBce  of  Coroner  and  Sheriff 
cannot  be  held  by  the  same  person,  as  the  duty  of  the  one  frequently  interferes 
with  the  other. 

"That  all  nuisances  should  be  speedily  removed,  particularly  the  offensive 
smell  arising  from  the  Slaughter  Houses,  and  the  quantity  of  dead  Carcasses 
which  are  found  in  every  corner  of  the  Town  and  which  must  injure  the  health 
of  the  Citizens  as  the  warm  weather  is  fast  approaching. 

"That  the  Grand  Jury  earnestly  recommend  that  this  and  the  former  pre- 
sentation should  be  speedily  transmitted  to  His  Excellency  the  Governor,  and 
request  the  attention  of  the  bench  to  this  circumstance. 
"Jury  Room  Detroit  9th  March  '97 

"John  McGregor,  Foreman,  "Israel  Ruland, 

"John  Reed,  "D.  labrosse, 

"  Ant  Baubiene,  "R.  Pattinson, 

"John  Fearson,  "Simon  Campau, 

"Joseph  Thibault,  "Wm.  Groesbeck, 

"Alexr.  Duff,  "Robert  Gouie, 

"J.  B.  Barthe,  "Francois  Gamehn, 

"Jas.  Fraser,  "Joseph  Bond, 

"Chabert  Joncaire,  "John  Dodemead." 

"Louis  Barthy, 


The  following  is  a  statement  of  the  court  fees  for  the  March  term  of  1797. 
This  shows  that  six  judges  were  in  attendance;  that  the  session  lasted  three 
days,  and  the  total  expense  was  $6,373^.  There  were  seven  justices  at  this 
time,  but  Louis  Beaufait's  name  is  not  on  the  list. 



MARCH    SESSIONS    1797 

Clerk  writing  precept  to  the 

Sheriff 28 

advertising  court  in  french  &  engHsh 25 

Tuesday —      Cryer  calhng  Grand  Jury .... 

Clk.  empannehing  &  swearing  J 25 

Clk.  caUing  Sheriff  &c.  &  Coroner 12 

Clk.  calling  C.  Magistrates  &  their 

returns 36 

Cryer  calling  8  constables .... 

Clk  receiving  &  swearing  on  their 

returns 48 

Crj^er  calhng  Peter  Loope  3  times .... 

Clk  entering  deffault 12}/^ 

Court  passing  order  thereon 15  .... 

Clk  entering  order 123--^ 

Clk  swearing  Jacques  Campau,  collector      ....  6 

Wednesday — Calling  Grand  Jury 123'-2 

Clk  swearing  Joseph  Bourdeau,  constable      ....  6 

Court  fining  Ante.  Pellier  for 

refusing  to  serve  as  a  constable 15  .... 

Clerk  entering  order  &  fine 15 

Clk  reading  in  french  &  english 

Petition  of  Wm.  Smith 30 

Court  passing  order  thereon 15  .... 

Clk  reading  in  french  &  english 

Petition  of  Herman  Eberts,  acting 

sheriff 30 

Court  passing  order  thereon 15  .... 

Court  appointing  Jno.  Loveless 

constable  in  lieu  of  Pre. 

Belair  excused 37^^^  .... 

Clk  entering  appointment 9 

Court  passing  order  on  Pierre  Montour 

on  compaint  of  L.  Ribidou 15  .... 

Clk  entg.  order 123/^ 

Thursday —    calling  Grand  Jury 123^2 

Court  passing  order  respecting  the 

price  of  ferries 15  .... 

Clk  entg.  order 12}^ 

Clk  receiving  and  filing  presentment 

of  the  Grand  Jury 6 

Clk  reading  same  in  english  &  french 12 

Court  passing  order  thereon 15  .... 

Clk  entg.  order 12i^ 

Clk  transmitting  to  the  Governor  a 

certified  Copy  with  seal  affixed 50 



3  days  attendance  for  6  Justices. 

$1-42}^     §4-253-2     S  .69>^ 



A  bill  introduced  in  Congress  for  the  division  of  the  Northwest  Territory  into 
two  territories  became  a  law  on  the  7th  of  May,  1800.  This  established  the 
Territory  of  Indiana,  the  eastern  line  of  which  was  the  eastern  line  of  the  present 
State  of  Indiana  projected  .to  the  national  boundary  line  on  the  north.  Thus,  the 
present  State  of  Michigan  was  divided  nearly  in  halves  and  the  western  portion 
was  included  in  the  new  territory.  The  eastern  portion,  including  Detroit,  was 
left  in  the  old  territory  which  did  not  change  its  name  from  the  "territory  north- 
west of  the  Ohio  River. " 

The  members  of  the  Assembly  who  came  from  Indiana  Territory  ceased  to 
hold  office.  Henry  Vanderburgh,  president  of  the  council,  was  the  only  member 
of  the  house  who  was  thus  legislated  out  of  office. 

The  act  of  May  7,  1800  also  provided  that  whenever  the  eastern  territory 
should  be  erected  into  a  state,  the  eastern  boundary  of  the  Territory  of  Indiana  as 
specified  herein  should  be  the  permanent  boundary  between  Ohio  and  Indiana. 
It  further  provided  that  Chillicothe  should  be  the  seat  of  government  for  the 
eastern  territory  and  Saint  Vincent  (Vincennes)  should  be  the  seat  of  government 
of  Indiana  Territory,  until  otherwise  ordered  by  the  respective  legislatures. 

The  second  session  of  the  first  assembly  met  at  Chillicothe  November  5,  1800. 
The  members  at  first  from  Detroit  were  Solomon  Sibley,  Oliver  Wiswell  and  Jacob 
Visger.  Again  Wiswell  did  not  appear,  being  afraid  that  his  election  was  not 

One  of  the  first  acts  was  to  choose  a  successor  to  Henry  Vanderburgh,  who  was 
in  the  new  Territory  of  Indiana  and  consequently  could  no  longer  act  with  the 
council.  President  Adams  awarded  the  appointment  to  the  legislative  council 
to  Solomon  Sibley  on  December  3,  1800.  His  term  of  office  was  to  last  for  five 
years  from  the  date  of  Vanderburgh's  appointment.  The  assembly  was  pro- 
rogued on  the  9th  of  December,  1800,  so  that  it  is  probable  that  Sibley  did  not 
take  his  seat  in  the  council. 


The  election  for  members  of  the  second  assembly  for  Waj'ne  County  took  place 
in  Detroit  October  14,  15  and  16,  1800.  An  account  of  this  election  is  con- 
tained in  a  letter  from  Peter  Audrain  printed  in  the  St.  Clair  Papers,  Vol.  2, 
page  498.  The  report  of  the  election  is  in  Vol.  VIII  of  the  Michigan  Pioneer 
Collection,  on  page  517.  The  limits  of  Wayne  County  had  been  greatly  curtailed 
b}'  the  erection  of  Indiana  Territory,  which  took  more  than  half  of  the  county, 
but  the  electors  lived,  for  the  most  part,  in  Detroit  and  on  the  River  Raisin 
(French  Town). 

The  contestants  for  the  election  were:  George  ^IcDougall,  who  received  one 
hundred  and  ten  votes;  Col.  Charles  F.  Chabert  de  Joncaire;  Jonathan  Schief- 
felin;  Benjamin  Huntington;  Joseph  Cissne;  James  May,  who  received  twenty- 
two  votes;  and  Jacob  Visger,  who  also  got  twenty-two  votes.  Sibley  did  not  enter 
the  list,  as  he  expected  an  appointment  to  the  council.  The  election  was  awarded 
to  Chabert,  Schieffelin,  and  McDougall.  Cissne  and  Huntington  contested  the 
election  of  IMcDougall  and  Schieffelin,  respectivel}'. 


The  protest  of  Joseph  Cissne  against  the  election  of  McDougall  was  on  the 
groimd  that  McDougall  did  not  own  two  hundred  acres  of  land  in  his  own  right. 


as  required  by  the  ordinance  of  Congress,  and  that  he  was  of  a  pernicious  dispo- 
sition, disquiet  mind  and  conversation,  and  contriving,  practicing  and  falsely 
turbulenting  and  seditiously  intending  the  peace  and  common  tranquillity  of  the 
government  of  the  United  States  and  of  this  territory,  to  disquiet,  molest  and 
disturb.  At  this  time  McDougall  was  one  of  the  judges  of  the  com-t  of  common 
pleas  and  the  protest  of  Cissne  was  to  come  before  the  court  of  enquiry,  which 
would  consist  of  at  least  two  judges  of  the  common  pleas.  The  other  judges. 
May  and  Visger,  had  been  McDougall's  contestants  at  the  election  and  very 
naturallj^  McDougall  objected  to  their  sitting  as  judges  in  the  case.  He  filed  a 
protest  against  the  proposed  action  of  the  two  judges  and  objected  vigorously  to 
the  claims  of  "that  poor  wretch,  Cissne,  who  had  been  made  a  tool  of  on  this 
occasion,"  that  he  did  not  have  two  hundred  acres  of  land.  In  fact  he  was  "land 
poor."  Notwithstanding  McDougall's  protest  the  two  judges  proceeded  with 
the  investigation.  On  the  investigation  it  was  shown  that  McDougall  was  anx- 
ious to  have  the  taxes  of  the  entire  county  paid  in  kind,  as  the  poor  farmers  had 
no  money  with  which  to  pay  them.  A  letter  written  by  McDougall  was  pro- 
duced, written  a  few  days  before  the  election,  stating  that  there  would  be  trouble 
if  the  sheriff  undertook  to  enforce  the  collection  of  taxes  by  levying  on  the  prop- 
erty of  the  poor  farmers.  He  proposed  the  calling  of  a  special  session  of  the 
justices  "at  this  alarming  crisis"  to  make  some  arrangements  to  relieve  them. 
It  was  also  shown  that  McDougall  had  stated  publicly  that  the  tax  law  was 
unjust  and  oppressive  and  if  the  sheriff  undertook  to  enforce  it,  he  would  be 
resisted.  These  were  the  charges  brought  to  disqualify  McDougall.  Most  of 
the  matters  have  been  printed  in  the  Michigan  Historical  Society,  Vol.  8,  but 
the  sequel  is  not  referred  to  there.  The  testimony  taken  by  the  judges  was 
certified  to  the  legislature  to  be  passed  upon  by  them.  The  contest  was  decided 
in  favor  of  McDougall  and  Schieffelin  on  December  1,  1802. 

McDougall,  after  a  time,  began  a  suit  against  Joseph  Cissne  for  slander  in  the 
utterances  made  by  him  in  the  charges,  and  claimed  damages  amounting  to  two 
thousand  dollars.  Cissne  defended  upon  the  ground  that  the  charges  were  true, 
and  were  uttered  only  in  connection  with  the  legal  proceedings  and  with  no  mali- 
cious intent.  Solomon  Sibley  represented  the  plaintiff  and  Elijah  Brush  appeared 
for  Cissne.  A  commission  to  take  testimony  was  issued  September  1,  1801.  The 
testimony  of  Benjamin  Huntington  was  taken  October  9,  1801  and  was  to  the 
same  effect  as  that  taken  before  the  court  of  enquiry,  which  is  already  in  print  as 
mentioned  above.  The  case  never  came  to  a  trial,  as  Cissne  died  and  the  suit 
abated  in  consequence,  but  McDougall  served  in  the  legislature. 


The  second  assembly  met  at  Chillicothe  November  26,  1801.  The  provision  in 
the  act  of  Congress  of  May  7,  1800,  fixing  Chillicothe  as  the  seat  of  government, 
raised  discussion  and  created  much  bitterness.  Many  of  the  members  thought 
the  provision  was  brought  about  by  the  action  of  men  who  were  interested  in 
Chillicothe  and  that  these  people  acted  selfishly  and  without  regard  to  the  con- 
venience or  the  requirements  of  the  territory.  There  was  also  a  growing  dislike 
to  the  governor  (St.  Clair)  which  disturbed  the  tranquillity  of  the  assembly.  On 
December  25,  1801  these  disturbances  had  so  affected  the  town  people  of  Chilli- 
cothe that  they  proposed  to  burn  the  governor  in  effigy.  The  plan  would  have 
succeeded  except  for  the  interference  of  one  of  the  members  of  the  council.  The 
next  night  a  number  of  boisterous  citizens  undertook  to  create  a  disturbance  in 


the  house  in  which  the  governor  was  a  boarder.  Fortunately,  the  rioters  at- 
tacked Mr.  SchieffeHn,  who  was  living  in  the  same  house.  Mr.  Schieffelin  drew 
a  dirk  in  self-defense  and  by  his  tlireats  drove  the  rioters  from  the  house.  The  ac- 
count is  found  in  the  St.  Clair  Papers,  Vol.  2,  page  556.  Some  others  assert  that 
Shieffelin  drew  a  brace  of  pistols  and  thus  drove  out  the  rioters. 

The  immediate  provocation  of  the  riot  was  a  bill  to  change  the  location 
of  the  seat  of  government  from  Chillicothe  to  Cincinnati.  This  bill  passed 
and  became  a  law  on  the  first  day  of  January,  1802. 


There  was  another  bill  which  passed  and  was  approved  December  21,  1801, 
which  gave  the  consent  of  the  territory  to  alter  the  boundary  lines  of  the  states 
to  be  formed  in  the  Northwest  Territory  as  provided  in  the  ordinance  of  1787. 
There  was  a  great  amount  of  discussion  over  this  bill  and  many  hard  feelings 
engendered.  Governor  St.  Clair  and  his  friends  were  opposed  to  the  formation 
of  the  new  state  and  thought  they  could  prevent  it,  for  a  time  at  least,  by  the 
passage  of  the  act  of  December  21st.  The  people  of  Detroit  were  greatly  inter- 
ested in  the  formation  of  a  state  in  the  eastern  district.  Protests,  numerously 
signed,  were  sent  to  Congress  and  an  effort  made  to  prevent  the  establishment 
of  the  new  state. 


The  bill,  as  originally  introduced,  included  the  eastern  portion  of  Michigan 
in  the  proposed  new  state,  but  the  serious  and  strenuous  opposition  of  the  citizens 
of  Detroit  to  the  measure,  led  to  an  amendment  of  the  bill,  so  that  the  northern 
line  of  the  state  should  be  a  line  drawn  due  east  from  the  southern  extremity 
of  Lake  Michigan.    It  was  in  this  form  that  the  bill  became  a  law  Apiil  30,  1802. 

The  amendment  was,  in  some  ways,  an  unfortunate  thing  for  Detroit.  If  the 
amendment  had  not  been  made,  Detroit  would  have  formed  a  part  of  the  new 
State  of  Ohio  and  the  people  would  have,  at  once,  been  given  the  rights  of  citizens 
in  that  state.  The  amendment  placed  Detroit  in  the  Territory  of  Indiana.  Thus, 
the  citizens  were  first  in  a  country  organized  under  the  first  grade  of  government; 
that  is,  managed  by  a  governor  and  judges  appointed  by  the  Federal  Govern- 
ment. Next  they  passed  to  the  second  grade,  in  which  there  was  a  governor, 
an  elected  assembly  and  appointed  council.  Instead  of  being  promoted  now  to 
the  third  grade,  or  the  grade  of  statehood,  thej'  were  degraded  to  the  rule  of  the 
governor  and  judges.  There  was  considerable  bitterness  in  Detroit,  and  many 
complaints  were  made,  but  no  alteration  or  improvement  was  affected.  Not 
being  within  the  lines  of  a  state,  the  people  had  no  vote.  Being  relegated  to  the 
first  grade,  there  were  no  members  of  the  assembly  to  be  voted  for,  and  no 
delegate  to  Congress  to  be  elected.  It  was  many  years  before  there  was  a 
delegate  to  Congress.  The  first  delegate  was  chosen  in  1819  and  the  first  legis- 
lative council  took  office  in  1824. 


The  legislative  council  which  met  at  Chillicothe  in  1801  completed  its  labors 
and  adjourned  January  23,  1802.  On  the  18th  of  January,  a  few  days  before 
the  adjournment,  there  was  passed  an  act  incorporating  the  town  of  Detroit. 
The  passing  of  this  act  was  largely  the  work  of  Solomon  Sibley  and  upon  his 
return  to  Detroit  a  public  celebration  was  held  and  at  the  meeting  of  the  citizens 


the  "freedom  of  the  town"  was  voted  to  him.  A  petition  for  the  incorporation 
of  "the  Corporation  of  Detroit"  is  printed  in  the  Michigan  Pioneer  Collections, 
Vol.  8,  page  507.  This  session,  ending  January  23,  1802,  was  the  final  meeting 
of  the  legislative  council  of  the  Northwest  Territorj^  and  from  this  time  Detroit 
was  in  the  Territory  of  Indiana. 

The  above  named  act  for  the  incorporation  of  the  town  of  Detroit  was  passed 
by  the  assembly  January  18,  1802.  The  village  was  composed  of  parts  of  the 
townships  of  Detroit  and  Hamtramck,  bounded  in  front  by  the  river,  on  the 
east  by  the  line  between  the  farms  of  John  Askin  (Brush)  and  Antoine  Bcaubien, 
on  the  west  by  the  line  between  the  farms  of  the  heirs  of  William  Macomb  (Cass) 
and  Pierre  Chesne  (Jones)  and  extending  back  from  the  river  two  miles.  The 
town  was  to  be  governed  by  five  trustees,  a  secretary,  an  assessor,  a  collector, 
and  a  town  marshal.  The  trustees  formed  a  body  politic  by  the  name  of  "the 
board  of  trustees  of  the  town  of  Detroit."  An  annual  election  was  to  be  held 
on  the  first  Monday  in  May  of  each  year,  and  the  electors  were  all  freeholders 
paying  an  annual  rent  of  at  least  forty  dollars,  and  such  other  persons  as  might 
be  admitted  to  the  freedom  of  the  corporation  by  the  electors  at  an  annual 
election.  All  of  the  above  named  officers  were  to  be  elected  and  hold  office  for 
one  year.  The  board  of  trustees  had  power  to  pass  all  needful  rules  and  regula- 
tions for  the  government  of  the  town,  such  rules  to  be  in  force  until  "they  shall 
be  disapproved  of  and  rejected  by  a  majority  of  the  voters  present"  at  the  next 
annual  election. 


The  first  set  of  officers,  appointed  by  the  legislature,  and  named  in  the 
incorporating  act,  were:  John  Askin,  Sr.,  John  Dodemead,  James  Henry,  Charles 
Francois  Girardin,  and  Joseph  Campau,  trustees;  Peter  Audrain,  secretary; 
Robert  Abbott,  assessor;  Jacob  Clemens,  collector;  and  Elias  Wallen,  marshal. 
The  act  took  effect  February  1,  1802. 

Askin,  who  was  named  as  one  of  the  original  trustees,  was  not  an  American 
citizen,  and  never  intended  to  become  one.  It  is  probable  that  Elijah  Brush, 
then  one  of  the  leading  lawyers  in  Detroit,  procured  the  insertion  of  his  name  in 
the  charter  from  motives  of  friendship.  At  this  time  Brush  was  with  the  assem- 
bly, although  not  a  member  of  it.  He  married  Askin's  daughter,  Adelaide. 
Askin  removed  from  Detroit  in  the  spring  of  1802  and  never  assumed  the  office 
of  village  trustee. 

Recognition  of  other  offices  is  contained  in  an  act  of  January  10,  1802,  pro- 
viding for  the  giving  of  official  bonds  by  clerks  in  judicial  offices.  These  clerks 
were  of  the  general  (supreme)  court,  of  the  circuit  court,  prothonotaries  of  the 
court  of  common  pleas,  clerks  of  the  courts  of  quarter  sessions  of  the  peace  and 
clerks  of  the  orphans'  court.  Judges  of  the  probate  courts  acted  as  their  own 

The  justices  whose  names  appear  in  1801  were:  Joseph  Voyez,  Jean  Marie 
Beaubien,  Francois  Navarre,  James  Henry  and  Jacob  Visger.  Three  of  these 
men  were  French,  one  (James  Henry)  an  American  from  Carlisle,  Pennsylvania, 
and  one  (Jacob  Visger)  of  Holland  Dutch  descent  from  Schenectady. 


Wilham  Henry  Harrison  was  the  first  delegate  to  Congress  from  the  North- 
west Territory.     Upon  the  organization   of  Indiana  Territory,  Mr.  Harrison 


became  its  first  governor  and  William  MclNIillan  was  chosen  delegate  to  Congress 
in  his  place.  Paul  Fearing  was  elected  the  next  and  last  delegate.  The  council, 
in  its  instructions  to  Mr.  Fearing,  directed  him  to  endeavor  to  have  commissioners 
appointed  by  Congress  to  settle  the  titles  to  lands  at  Detroit;  to  procure  a  dona- 
tion of  lands  for  education  and  religion  and  to  obtain  a  grant  from  the  general 
government  to  the  town  of  Detroit  of  the  "commons."  The  "commons"  was 
the  designation  of  the  land  lying  between  the  old  town  of  Detroit  (above  Gris- 
wold  Street)  and  the  present  Randolph  Street.  This  land  had  always,  even 
during  the  French  regime,  been  considered  as  belonging  to  the  public. 

Mr.  Fearing  presented  these  matters  before  Congress  in  March,  1802,  and 
they  were  referred  to  committees,  but  it  was  near  the  end  of  the  session  and 
nothing  was  done  with  them  at  this  time.  Of  the  Territory  of  Indiana,  of  which 
Detroit  now  formed  a  part,  William  Henry  Harrison  was  governor  and  John 
Gibson  was  secretary. 

The  judges  were  William  Clarke,  Henry  Vanderburgh  and  John  Griffin. 
The  general  court  did  not  have  any  equity  powers,  nor  could  an  appeal  be  taken 
from  its  decisions.  Both  of  these  defects  were  sought  to  be  remedied  by  Congress 
in  1803  (House  Journals  1803,  pp.  490  and  505),  but  the  efforts  were  not  suc- 
cessful.    Little  attention  was  paid  to  Detroit. 

The  County  of  Wayne  was  proclaimed  by  Governor  Harrison  January  14, 
1803  (Michigan  Historical  Society,  VHI,  p.  542).  Sessions  of  the  governor  and 
judges  were  held  and  laws  enacted  January  30,  1802,  February  16,  1803  and 
September  20,  1803.  In  September,  1804,  a  general  election  was  held,  at  which 
time  it  was  decided  that  the  territory  should  pass  to  the  second  grade  of  govern- 
ment; that  is,  it  should  have  a  governor  and  a  legislative  assembly,  instead  of 
the  governor  and  three  judges  as  the  legislative  body.  This  election  was  called 
bj'  proclamation  of  Governor  Harrison,  August  4,  1804,  to  be  held  on  the  11th 
day  of  the  following  September.  The  time  was  so  short  that  no  notice  of  the 
proposed  election  reached  Detroit  and  no  votes  were  cast  there.  This  circum- 
stance was  one  of  the  leading  arguments  for  the  partition  of  the  territory  and 
the  formation  of  Aliclrigan  Territory  in  1805. 

Only  four  hundred  votes  were  cast  at  the  election  and  the  majority  of  one 
hundred  and  thirty-eight  was  in  favor  of  passing  to  the  second  grade  of  govern- 

An  election  of  representatives  was  called  for  on  the  3rd  of  January,  1805,  and 
Wayne  County  was  authorized  to  elect  three  members.  The  members  elected 
were  to  meet  at  Vincennes  on  Februarj'  3,  1805  to  select  ten  men  from  whom' 
the  President  was  to  choose  five  as  members  of  the  council.  Again  no  election 
was  held  in  Detroit  or  in  Wayne  County. 


Application  had  been  made  bj-  Joseph  Harrison  and  others  in  1803  to  organize 
Micliigan  into  a  separate  territory.  Tlris  effort  failed,  but  in  1804  another  peti- 
tion for  the  same  purpose  was  filed  by  James  May  and  others.  The  result  was 
that  an  act  was  passed  January  11,  1805,  for  the  organization  of  Michigan 
Territory  on  June  30th  following.  This  put  an  end  to  all  desire  on  the  part  of 
the  citizens  of  the  new  territory  to  take  any  part  in  the  management  of  Indiana 
Territory.  The  first  assembly  of  Indiana  Territorj-  met  July  30,  1805,  just  a 
month  after  Micliigan  Territorj-  was  organized. 

Detroit  was  in  Indiana  but  a  short  time,  from  the  organization  of  Wayne 


County  in  January,  1803,  until  January,  or  June,  1805.  The  governor's  procla- 
mation of  January  14,  1803  stated  that  all  civil  and  military  offices  appointed  in 
Wayne  County  under  the  old  Northwest  Territory  should  continue  to  hold  their 
offices  until  otherwise  directed. 


In  May,  1803,  the  governor  made  the  following  appointments  to  civil  offices 
in  Wayne  County:  James  May,  James  Henry,  Antoine  Dequindre,  Mathias 
Henry,  Francis  Navarre,  Jacob  Visger,  John  Dodemead,  Jean  Marie  Bobiene 
(Beaubien),  Chabert  Joncaire,  William  McDowell  Scott,  justices  of  the  court 
of  general  quarter  sessions  of  the  peace;  James  May,  Chabert  Joncaire,  James 
Henry,  Jacob  Visger,  William  McDowell  Scott,  judges  of  the  court  of  common 
pleas;  Peter  Audrain,  prothonotary,  clerk  of  the  court  of  general  quarter  sessions 
of  the  peace,  recorder  and  judge  of  probate;  Thomas  McCrea,  sheriff;  Joseph 
Harrison,  coroner;  and  Francis  Desreusseau  Belcour,  notary  public. 

On  July  15,  1804  Joseph  Wilkison  (Wilkinson)  was  appointed  coroner  of 
Wayne  County,  and  on  the  same  day  David  Duncan  and  John  Anderson  were 
appointed  justices  of  the  court  of  general  quarter  sessions  of  the  peace.  On  July 
18th  Richard  Smith  was  appointed  sheriff  and  on  the  19th  Jacob  Visger  was 
given  a  license  to  keep  a  ferry  from  his  land  near  Detroit  across  the  Detroit  River. 

It  is  noted  in  the  executive  journal  of  Indiana  Territory  that  an  election  was 
held  September  11,  1804,  except  in  Wayne  County,  where  "no  election  was  held 
in  consequence  of  the  proclamation  not  arriving  in  time." 


The  efforts  that  were  made  for  the  erection  of  Michigan  Territory  originated 
in  Congress  by  the  presentation  of  two  petitions,  one  in  1803  and  the  other  in 
1804,  as  noted  above.  The  first  petition  was  signed  by  Joseph  Harrison  and  a 
number  of  other  Detroit  citizens.  The  petition  was  presented  in  the  Senate  by 
Mr.  Worthington,  October  21,  1803  and  was  at  once  referred  to  a  committee 
composed  of  Senators  Worthington,  Breckenridge  and  Franklin.  In  their  report 
on  November  1st,  they  stated  that  census  of  the  district  taken  in  1800  showed 
there  were  3972  free  white  inhabitants,  and  the  committee  recommended  the 
granting  of  the  petition,  the  new  tenitory  to  be  governed  as  provided  in  the 
ordinance  of  1787.  The  committee  was  directed  to  bring  in  a  bill.  The  bill 
being  introduced,  it  passed  through  the  usual  forms  of  reading  and  debates. 
On  December  6th  the  title  was  determined  to  be  "An  act  to  divide  Indiana 
Territory  into  two  separate  governments."  The  bill  passed  the  Senate,  was 
sent  to  the  House,  and  on  December  8th  was  referred  to  a  committee  composed 
of  Congressmen  Lucas,  Morrow,  Chittenden,  Lj^on  and  Claggett.  The  prin- 
cipal argument  against  the  bill  was  that  the  people  of  Detroit  were  too  few  in 
number  to  warrant  the  expense  of  maintaining  a  separate  government.  The 
extra  expense  could  not  have  been  very  great.  The  general  government  would 
have  to  pay  the  salaries  of  a  governor,  secretary,  three  judges  and  civil  and 
court  officers.  This  entire  cost  would  not  exceed  $10,000  per  j^ear  and  was 
probably  nearer  $5,000.  The  committee  reported  adversely  to  the  bill,  but 
the  House  rejected  their  report  and  after  amending  it  and  providing  that  the 
name  of  the  new  territory  should  be  "Michigan,"  postponed  final  action  until 
the  succeeding  day.  The  last  vote  was  taken  February  21,  1804,  when  the 
bill  was  rejected  by  a  single  vote.     There  were  fifty-eight  in  favor  of  the  bill 

Vol.  1—18 


and  fifty-nine  opposed  to  it.  In  looking  over  the  list  of  members  one  finds 
several  names  of  persons  who  were  then  and  in  after  years  interested  in  Detroit. 
Several  of  these  voted  against  the  measure.  One  vote  only  would  have  changed 
the  entire  plan  and  have  made  Michigan  a  territory.  Among  those  who  opposed 
the  measure  and  voted  against  it  was  Seth  Hastings,  a  personal  friend  of  Solomon 
Sibley  and  a  representative  from  Worcester,  Massachusetts;  he  was  the  father 
of  Eurotas  P.  Hastings,  a  prominent  citizen  in  later  times. 

The  friends  of  the  territorial  organization  proceeded  with  a  second  petition. 
The  first  signer  of  the  petition  was  James  May,  but  many  prominent  people 
signed  it,  and  it  was  presented  to  the  Senate  December  5,  1804.  It  was  referred 
to  Senators  Worthington,  Breckenridge  and  Giles.  A  bill  was  introduced  by 
Mr.  Worthington  on  December  14th  and  was  debated,  amended  and  passed  on 
the  24th  of  that  month.  Upon  reaching  the  house  it  was  further  amended,  but 
was  finally  passed,  the  Senate  concurring  in  the  amendment.  It  was  approved 
by  the  President  on  January  11,  1805. 

Thus  Michigan  became  a  territory. 

Solomon  Sibley  took  a  great  part  in  the  work  at  Detroit  and  among  the 
citizens.  The  original  petitions  were  sent  by  him  to  Senator  Worthington  to 
be  introduced  in  the  Senate.  A  joint  letter  by  himself  and  Jonathan  Schieffelin 
accompanied  the  second  petition  and,  at  a  later  time,  he  added  further  instruc- 
tions and  new  advice  to  the  petitions  and  documents  already  in  the  hands  of 


One  of  the  troubles  of  the  district  of  Detroit  as  it  was  emerging  from  British 
control,  was  the  matter  of  land  titles.  Under  the  French  regime,  comparatively 
few  people  had  any  paper  title  to  the  farm  lands  they  occupied  and  claimed  to 
own.  The  farms  were  located  along  the  Detroit  River  and  the  tributary  streams 
such  as  the  Huron  River  of  Lake  Erie,  the  Ecorse,  Rouge  and  the  Huron  River 
(now  called  Clinton  River)  of  Lake  St.  Clair.  No  lands  were  occupied  or  cul- 
tivated in  the  country  back  and  away  from  these  water  courses.  Every  farm 
had  a  frontage  on  a  stream,  with  a  width  of  from  one  to  three  arpents,  with  an 
original  depth  of  from  fortj'  to  sixty  arpents.  (An  arpent  is  a  French  acre, 
having  192.75  feet  on  a  side.)  There  were  no  roads  through  the  country  and 
the  travel  for  all  persons  was  by  boat  along  the  front  of  these  ribbon  farms. 
Occasionally  farms  or  possessions  of  larger  tracts  of  land  were  to  be  found,  but 
the  above  quantities  of  forty,  eighty  and  one  hundred  and  twenty  arpents  were 
of  the  customary  size. 

Conveyances  of  such  farms  from  the  French  governor  and  intendant  are 
occasionally  found.  The  English  government  made  very  few  grants  and  passed 
laws  to  prohibit  the  people  from  buying  lands  of  the  Indians.  Towards  the  end 
of  the  Revolutionary  war,  about  the  j-ear  1780,  the  people  of  Detroit  began  the 
purchase  of  farms  from  the  various  Indian  tribes.  Sometimes  these  purchases 
would  consist  only  of  an  ordinary  farm,  but  as  time  proceeded  and  the  speculators 
got  reckless,  larger  tracts  were  bought.  Some  conveyances  included  20,000 
acres,  and  then  we  find  200,000,  500,000  and  3,000,000  acres  in  a  single  con- 
veyance, and  an  attempt  was  made  in  1795  to  purchase  the  entire  lower  peninsula 
of  Michigan,  or  20,000,000  acres  at  one  time.  Titles  to  legitimate  farms  in  the 
neighborhood  of  Detroit  were  complicated  and  uncertain  and  early  efforts  were 
made  to  bring  the  matter  before  Congress  for  relief. 



The  first  selected  officials  for  the  new  Territory  of  Michigan  were:  William 
Hull,  governor;  Stanlej'  Griswold,  secretary;  Augustus  Brevoort  Woodward, 
Frederick  Bates  and  John  Griffin,  judges. 

The  town  of  Detroit  was  fire-swept  on  June  11,  1805.  Judge  Bates  resided 
in  Detroit,  but  the  other  two  judges  and  the  governor  did  not  arrive  in  Detroit 
until  after  the  fire.  They  then  appeared  to  witness  a  scene  of  desolation,  for 
every  dwelling  and  building  in  the  place,  save  one,  was  destroyed. 

The  first  act  passed  by  the  legislative  body  is  dated  July  9,  1805  and  provided 
for  the  territorial  seal.  It  was  provided  that  paper,  instead  of  parchment, 
should  be  used  in  all  court  records.  ' 


We  now  reach  the  point  where  there  was  a  change  of  government  and  where 
all  local  affairs  were  brought  more  closely  under  our  observation.  As  we  have 
already  seen,  the  United  States  had  no  actual  control  over  the  Detroit  district 
until  July,  1796.  It  was  reported  that  the  village  of  Detroit  contained  about 
.five  hundred  people.  They  were  mostly  French,  and  the  number  of  English, 
Irish  and  Scotch  was  quite  limited.  The  declarations  of  the  inhabitants  to 
remain  British  subjects,  made  in  1796-7,  already  referred  to,  contain  many 
names  in  addition  to  those  of  French  derivation.  These  are  as  follows: 
D.  McCrea,  Louis  Moore,  James  Mcintosh, 

William  Fleming,  Thomas  Green,  Jonathan  Nelson, 

James  Condon,  Angus  Mackintosh,  Robert  Gouie, 

Alexander  Duff,  John  Askin,  R.  McDonnell, 

William  Smith,  William  Mickle,  Richard  Pattinson, 

John  McKoigan,  Robert  Innes,  Hugh  He  ward, 

John  Clark,  John  Martin,  John  Grant, 

Robert  Grant,  Redmond  Condon,  James  Cartwright, 

James  Donaldson,  John  Fearson,  Richard  Donovan, 

John  Little  (Lytle),  Conrad  Showles,  James  Leith, 

Robert  Forsyth,  George  Sharp,  Mathew  Dolson, 

Samuel  Eddy,  Robert  Nichol,  William  Hands, 

George  Meldrum,  Thomas  Smith,  John  McDonnell, 

Robert  McDougall,  William  Baker,  John  McGregor, 

Richard  Mooney,  William  Park,  John  Anderson, 

James  Vincent,  James  McGregor,  John  Whitehead, 

James  Anderson,  Joseph  Mason,  William  Thorn, 

James  Eraser,  William  Harffy,  John  Wheaton, 

William  Mills,  John  Cain,  Samuel  Edge. 

A.  Iredell,  WiUiam  Forsyth, 

Jonathan  Schieffelin,  Alexander  Harrow, 

Of  these,  some  moved  to  the  Canadian  side  of  the  river,  some  moved  away 
altogether,  and  many  repented  of  their  action  in  signing  the  declaration  and 
remained  as  loyal  citizens. 


There  was  another  class,  quite  as  large,  that  remained  in  Detroit  and  accepted 
the  citizenship  conferred  by  Jay's  treaty.     Among  these  were: 
James  Abbott  and  his  three  sons,  James,  Samuel  and  Robert. 
James  May  and  his  brother,  Joseph. 



John  Macomb  and  his  son,  Alexander.  William  Macomb,  the  other  son  of 
John,  died  in  the  spring  of  1796,  just  before  the  coming  of  General  Wayne. 
His  three  sons,  John,  William  and  David,  were  all  minors  at  the  time  of  the 
father's  death. 

Patrick  McNiff,  the  sm'veyor. 

Nathan  Williams. 

Herman  Eberts,  physician. 

John  Dodemead. 

Daniel  Saw.yer. 

Jacob  Harsen. 

Barnabas  Harsen. 

Jacob  Visger. 

John  Shaw. 

William  Walker. 

Israel  Ruland,  here  in  1786. 

Godfroy  Corbus. 

Francis  Jones. 

Daniel  Pursley. 

Joseph  Hurt. 

Zachariah  Hurt. 

Nathan  Hurt. 

John  Yax  (a  German). 

James  Conner. 

Henry  Conner. 

Richard  Conner. 

William  Conner. 

John  Conner. 

Edward  Hezell. 

Jacob  Thomas. 

Jacob  Hill. 


George  Knaggs. 

William  Thorn,  Jr. 

Peter  Curry. 

William  Knaggs. 

Michael  Yax. 

Robert  Forsyth. 

Ronald  McDonald,  clerk  for  Leith  & 

Andrew  Baker. 
John  Kinzie. 
Thomas  Cox. 
Albert  Ringeard. 
Joseph  Cissne  (His  wife,  Rebecca,  after 

his  death,  married  Hugh  McVay). 

John  Cissne,  came  to  River  Rouge  in 

William  Cissne. 
John  Messimore. 
Jacob  Dicks. 
Edward    McCarty,     came    to     River 

Rouge  in  April,  1796. 
John  Dicks. 
John  Carrol  (his  widow  married  Daniel 

Pursley) . 
John  Reynolds,  here  in  1787,  moved  to 

River  Thames  before  1799. 
James  Havard,  here  in  178.5. 
Adam    Brown,    a    Wyandotte    Indian 

chief  in  1785. 
John  Wright. 
William  Thorn. 
Gregor  McGregor. 
Jacob  Baker. 
Andrew  Baker. 
Christian  Clemens. 
John  Tucker. 
William  Tucker. 
Edward  Tucker. 
Jacob  Tucker. 
Charles  Tucker. 
George  Cotterall. 
John    Anderson.       (There    were    two 

bearing  this  name.) 
William  Hill. 
James  Hobbs. 
James  Cartwright. 
Patrick  Fitzpatrick. 
Henry  Saunders. 
Simon  Yax. 

Jacob  Young  (colored). 
Thomas  Edwards. 
Alexander  McCormick. 
Whitmore  Knaggs. 
David  McCrea. 
Joseph  Chamberlain. 

GENERAL    CONDITIONS,    1796-1800 

Detroit  was  taken  possession  of  on  July  11,  1796,  by  Capt.  Moses  Porter, 
with  a  detachment  of  sixty-five  men.  At  present  we  have  not  the  names  of 
the  men  who  constituted  this  company,  but  as  they  were  soldiers  in  the  reg- 


ular  army,  it  is  not  probable  that  they  became  residents  of  Detroit  or  that 
many  of  them  remained  here  after  their  term  of  service  had  expired. 

It  was  not  until  the  following  month  that  Gen.  Anthony  Wayne  came  with 
a  larger  number  of  troops  to  form  the  new  garrison.  It  is  said  that  there  were 
five  hundred  troops  in  that  garrison  in  the  fall  of  1796.  Secretary  Winthrop 
Sargent  was  with  General  Wayne,  and  there  was  a  number  of  civilians,  some 
of  whom  remained  at  the  place. 

The  people  living  in  Detroit  knew  very  little  about  the  party  politics  which 
disturbed  the  states  in  1796.  Washington  was  still  President  and  was  termed 
a  federalist,  though  his  opponents  called  him  a  monarchist.  The  political 
party  opposed  to  liim  was  called  the  republican,  or  democrat,  and  believed 
in  the  states'  rights  doctrine  and  was  afraid,  or  at  least  pretended  to  fear,  that 
the  federalists  would  ultimately  deprive  the  states  of  their  individuality  and 
would  enlarge  the  federal  powers  and  so  pave  the  way  to  the  establishment  of 
a  monarchy. 

Before  any  great  number  of  people  had  come  to  Detroit,  Washington's 
second  term  had  ended  and  he  was  followed  by  John  Adams.  Adams  also 
was  a  federalist  and  was  likewise  incUned,  as  many  believed,  to  monarchical 
ideas.  The  republican  part}'  was  fast  increasing  its  strength  in  the  states, 
particularly  in  the  southern  states,  and  its  influence  began  to  be  felt  in  many 

Most  of  the  people  who  first  came  to  the  Ohio  region  were  Revolutionary 
soldiers  and  were  allied  by  party  feelings  with  the  federalists.  The  names 
given  to  their  earh*  settlements,  such  as  Forts  Hamilton  and  Washington  of  the 
counties  of  Washington,  Hamilton,  St.  Clair  and  Knox,  all  attest  their  federalist 
attachment.   St.  Clair  and  Wayne,  both  friends  of  Washington,  were  federalists. 

Solomon  Siblej^  came  to  Detroit  in  1798  and  very  quickly  took  a  leading 
part  in  the  affairs  of  the  village.  Before  the  end  of  the  first  year  of  his  resi- 
dence, on  the  third  Monday  of  December,  1798,  he  was  elected  to  the  lower 
house  of  the  legislative  council  of  the  Northwest  Territory.  He  also  was  a 
federalist.  His  competitor  at  the  election  was  James  May,  who,  as  we  have 
already  noted,  was  an  Englishman  by  birth,  never  lived  in  the  states,  and 
knew  nothing  about  American  political  questions. 

When  Sibley  attended  the  legislative  council  at  Cincinnati,  he  met  the 
best  men  in  the  entire  northwest.  Burnet,  in  his  Notes,  says  that  "In  choosing 
members  to  the  first  territorial  legislature,  the  people,  in  almost  every  instance, 
selected  the  strongest  and  best  men  in  their  respective  counties.  Part}'  in- 
fluence was  scarcely  felt." 

Detroit  was  entitled  to  three  representatives  in  tliis  council,  but  only  two, 
Sibley  and  Jacob  Visger,  took  their  seats.  Sibley  took  an  active  and  leading 
part  in  the  assembly.  Judge  Burnet  says  of  him,  "Mr.  Sibley  was  a  lawyer 
of  high  standing,  and  considered  one  of  the  most  talented  men  of  the  House. 
He  possessed  a  sound  mind,  improved  by  liberal  education,  and  a  stability  and 
firmness  of  character  which  commanded  a  general  respect  and  secured  to  him 
the  confidence  and  esteem  of  his  fellow  members." 

Jacob  Visger,  or  perhaps  the  name  was  originally  spelled  Vishiere,  was 
of  Dutch  ancestry  and  came  to  Detroit  during  the  Revolutionary  war  from 
Schenectady,  New  York.  He  was  fairly  well  educated  and  had  studied  law 
a  little.    He  was  a  business  man  and  acted  occasionally  as  a  judge  or  justice. 


He  was  decided  in  his  character,  and  somewhat  opinionated.  His  action  of 
the  case  of  the  will  of  George  Hoffman  indicates  his  character  somewhat. 

The  matter  of  land  titles  and  land  possession  was  of  the  greatest  import- 
ance at  this  time.  The  government  possessed  millions  of  acres  of  uncultivated 
land  and  the  land  speculators  were  after  big  tracts  of  this  wild  land,  out  of 
which  they  expected  to  make  fortunes.  A  great  "land  grab"  in  Georgia  in 
1795,  in  wliich  members  of  Congress  were  supposed  to  have  been  interested, 
was  followed  in  tire  same  year  by  an  attempt  to  buy  the  entire  lower  peninsula 
of  Michigan.  Both  schemes  failed  of  success,  but  many  purchases  of  smaller 
quantities  of  land  succeeded.  It  was  the  desire  of  the  Federal  Government 
to  furnish  homes  and  farms  for  the  people.  It  was  the  effort  of  speculators  to 
purchase  these  large  tracts  and  colonize  them. 

Indiana  Territory  was  organized  in  May,  ISOO.  This  left  Detroit  in  the 
Ohio  district  and  still  a  part  of  the  old  Northwest  Territory.  In  September 
of  this  year  a  petition  of  the  citizens  of  Detroit  was  presented  to  Congress, 
asking  that  their  land  titles  be  confirmed.  They  said  that  the  people  were 
"generally  poor  and  needy,  with  large  and  numerous  families."  They  did  not 
mean  by  this  that  polygamy  was  practiced,  but  that  their  situation  was  not 
favorable  when  the  titles  to  their  homes  were  unsettled.  They  said,  "Your 
petitioners  feel  exceedingly  anxious  that  their  rights,  titles  and  claims  to  their 
lands  may  be  speedily  settled  and  confirmed  in  them  and  their  heirs."  They 
asked  that  the  government  assist  them  in  establishing  schools  and  that  one 
or  more  townships  of  land  be  set  aside  for  the  purpose  of  endowing  an  academy 
or  college.  They  wanted  a  post  office  established.  This  petition  was,  in  1801, 
referred  to  a  committee  of  the  house,  of  which  Mr.  Pinckney  was  the  chair- 
man. Little  attention  was  paid  to  it,  for  affairs  of  more  political  importance 
were  occupying  the  attention  of  the  house,  and  our  interests  were  disregarded 
for  the  time  being. 

One  of  the  most  important  political  incidents  that  ever  occupied  the  atten- 
tion of  America  took  place  at  this  time.  It  was  on  February  11,  1801,  that 
the  contest  began  in  the  House  for  the  election  of  President.  The  vote  in  the 
Electoral  College  stood  seventy-three  for  each  of  the  candidates,  Thomas  Jef- 
ferson and  Aaron  Burr.  This  was  a  tie  and  the  election  was  thus  thrown  into 
the  House,  where  for  thirty-five  consecutive  ballots,  occupying  the  time  until 
February  17,  the  votes  were  vmiform  and  undecided.  It  required  the  vote 
of  nine  states  to  decide  the  contest,  but  through  all  of  this  exciting  time, 
Jefferson  could  only  muster  eight  states  and  Burr  but  six.  In  the  afternoon 
of  Tuesday,  February  17,  1801,  the  thirty-sixth  ballot  showed  that  Jefferson 
had  the  votes  of  ten  states  and  was  elected. 

America  has  probably  never  passed  through  a  more  critical  time.  It  was 
the  crisis  of  political  power  for  the  two  great  parties,  federals  and  democrats. 
Burr  was  the  representative  of  the  federalist  party,  while  Jefferson  was  an 
.avowed  democrat.  It  was  here  that  the  two  parties  changed  positions  and  from 
this  time  forward  the  democrats  were  in  control.  It  was  a  bloodless  revolu- 
tion; the  parting  of  the  ways  forever  in  America  between  a  republican  and 
:a  monarchical  form  of  government.  Small  wonder  that  in  such  exciting  times 
the  interests  of  Detroit  were  temporarily  forgotten. 

In  1798,  when  Mr.  Sibley  came  to  Detroit,  there  was  but  one  lawyer  here, 
but  by  1799  the  number  had  increased.  Ezra  Fitz  Freeman,  who  was  here 
before  1799,  had  left,  and  the  lawyers  then  remaining  were  Solomon  Sibley, 

SOLOMON  SIBLEY,  1756-1830 
First  Chief  Justice,  Common  Pleas  Court 


Elijah  Brush  and  David  Powers.     J.  WiUis  also  appeared  as  an  attorney  in 
many  cases  in  1797. 

The  settlement  was  practically  isolated  from  civilization.  Although  the 
census  of  1800  disclosed  that  there  were  3,757  people  in  Wayne  County,  most 
of  whom  were  in  Detroit  and  along  the  shore  lines  of  the  Detroit  and  St.  Clair 
Rivers,  there  were  no  adequate  schools  to  supply  any  kind  of  educational 
training.  There  was  a  school  house  on  the  St.  Clair  River  in  1797  and  the 
names  of  two  or  three  teachers  are  met  with  in  the  Detroit  settlement.  Even 
the  meager  schooling  which  was  afforded  was  not  free  or  compulsory  and  only 
those  who  had  the  desire  to  attend  and  the  money  to  pay  for  tuition  were 
accommodated.  David  Bacon,  the  father  of  Leonard  Bacon,  president  of 
Yale  University,  kept  a  school  in  Detroit  in  1801  and  1802,  and  Leonard  Bacon 
was  born  here  in  the  latter  year. 

JOUETT's  description  of  DETROIT 

Charles  Jouett  in  his  report  in  1803,  which  will  be  referred  to  again,  said  that 
the  lands  along  the  entire  river,  where  cultivated,  were  good,  with  some  excep- 
tions, but  that  the  people  were  poor  and  their  work  in  cultivation  not  good.  They 
were  nearly  all  of  French  descent.  Some  had  comfortable  dwellings  built  of 
hewn  logs  and  most  generally  the  necessary  out-buildings,  barns,  etc.  They  had 
numerous  apple  orchards  and  made  quantities  of  cider.  Although  Jouett  men- 
tions few  distilleries,  there  are  many  evidences  that  stills  were  numerous  through- 
out the  country  and  whisky  was  very  cheap  and  abundant.  On  the  St.  Clair 
River  there  were  at  least  two  sawmills,  and  some  lumber  there  from  the  pinery 
was  sent  to  Detroit,  though  lumber  was  not  produced  in  sufficient  quantity 
to  be  used  in  making  frame  buildings.  In  many  places  the  country  was  beau- 
tiful. In  one  place  Mr.  Jouett  writes:  "No  lands  are  superior  to  those  along 
the  Huron  River.  They  consist  of  extensive  prairies  covered  so  closely  with 
hazel  and  other  shrubberies  as  to  afford  a  pleasant  shade  to  the  delighted 
traveler,  who  cannot  but  take  an  agreeable  interest  in  the  beautiful  sceneries 
by  which  he  is  surrounded." 

Nowithstanding  all  that  nature  had  done  for  them,  many  of  the  farms  were  al- 
ready exhausted  by  cultivation;  many  of  the  houses  old,  dilapidated  and  unfit  for 
habitation  and  "scarcely  sufficient  to  shut  out  the  inclemencies  of  the  weather. " 
Along  the  Ecorse  River  "the  grass  and  wheat  are  astonishingly  luxuriant;  and 
nature  requires  to  be  but  aided  to  produce,  in  abundance,  all  the  necessaries  of 
life;  yet  the  peoples  are  poor  beyond  conception;  and  no  description  could  give  an 
adequate  idea  of  their  servile  and  degraded  situation. " 

Of  the  town  of  Detroit,  Jouett  wrote:  "  A  stockade  encloses  the  town,  fort 
and  citadel.  The  pickets,  as  well  as  the  public  houses,  are  in  a  state  of  gradual 
decay  and,  in  a  few  years,  without  repairs,  must  fall  to  the  ground.  The  streets 
are  narrow,  straight,  regular  and  intersect  each  other  at  right  angles.  The  houses 
are,  for  the  most  part,  low  and  inelegant. " 

mcniff's  writings 

Another  writer  of  the  period  was  Patrick  McNiff.  McNiff  was  a  surveyor  and 
had  lived  in  Detroit  for  manj^  years.  In  later  years  he  was  a  justice  of  the  peace 
and  of  the  court  of  quarter  sessions.  In  1799,  just  after  Mr.  Sibley  had  been 
elected  to  the  assembly,  McNiff  sent  him  some  "instructions"  as  to  the  matters 
Mr.  Sibley  was  to  work  for  in  the  council.     Regarding  the  militia  law  McNiff 


said,  "The  militia  law  of  the  territory  as  it  now  stands,  does  not  seem  to  answer 
the  intended  purpose,  or  the  disposition  of  the  inhabitants  of  this  county.  They 
are,  almost  to  a  man,  refractory,  nor  will  they  turn  out  either  to  a  muster  or  exer- 
cise when  called  upon;  the  fine  or  punishment  inflicted  by  that  law  being  so  easy 
and  inconsiderable  that  they  would  much  sooner  bear  the  consequences  than 
obej'  the  order  or  call  of  their  officers.  The  safety,  and  indeed  the  prosperity,  of 
the  county  in  a  great  measure  depends  upon  the  good  order  and  discipline  of  the 
inhabitants.  A  thoughtful  person  cannot  labor  with  anj'  degree  of  courage  when 
he  finds  that  he  cannot  derive  from  the  joint  efforts  of  his  neighbors  that  protec- 
tion and  safety  which  ought  ever  to  exist  in  every  civilized  society.  The  inhabi- 
tants of  this  place  have  lived  for  many  years  past  in  a  state  of  licentious  freedom, 
nor  can  they  now  bear  to  be  checked.  Nothing  but  a  more  severe  law  can  bring 
them  to  order. " 

There  were  no  roads  through  the  country  and  here  again  we  refer  to  the 
writings  of  Mr.  McNiff:  "The  situation  of  the  country  in  respect  to  public  roads 
should  be  taken  into  consideration.  The  present  seat  of  justice  is  at  Detroit.  The 
settlements  extending  thence  northerly  to  the  upper  end  of  the  river  St.  Clair, 
nearly  sixty  miles,  and  also  from  Detroit  southwesterly  to  the  foot  of  the  rapids 
of  the  Miami  (Maumee)  River,  nearly  sixty  miles.  To  those  extreme  parts  of  the 
settlements  there  are  but  two  periods  in  the  year  that  persons  from  the  seat  of 
justice  can  have  access  to  them  without  the  help  of  a  water  craft,  viz:  in  the  month 
of  September  by  land,  and  in  the  winter  when  the  waters  are  sufficiently  frozen 
that  the  ice  will  bear  them;  otherwise  no  access  to  these  places  but  by  water. " 


While  nearly  all  of  the  people  of  Detroit  were  somewhat  religiously  inclined,  it 
is  very  certain  that  the  Protestant  portion  of  the  community  did  not  let  their 
religion  seriously  interfere  with  their  secular  work.  The  Moravian  teachers  had 
been  forcibly  brought  to  the  place  in  1782  and  had  located  at  their  settlement 
near  the  present  city  of  ]\It.  Clemens.  They  had  left  that  place  and  sold  out 
their  holdings  before  the  Americans  came.  There  was  no  Protestant  church 
organization  in  1796,  nor  for  many  months  later. 

Rev.  George  Mitchell  of  the  Episcopal  Church  attempted  an  organization  in 
1786  and  obtained  a  fairly  good  subscription  list.  He  preached  and  lived  pre- 
cariously for  more  than  two  years,  but  became  discouraged  and  left,  unable  to 
collect  the  pittances  which  were  promised  him.  Richard  Pollard,  minister,  and 
sheriff  of  the  western  district,  preached  occasionally  in  1792  and  later,  but  he 
always  lived  on  the  Canadian  side  of  the  river. 

The  Catholic  Church  had  existed  for  nearly  a  century  and  was  then  in  its 
usual  condition.  The  priest  managed  to  live  from  donations  o  his  parishioners 
and  tithes  which  were  collected,  but  the  church  building  was  in  a  dilapidated 
condition  and  waited  only  to  fall  in  some  wind  storm.  Fortunately  for  the 
society,  the  building  was  destroyed  by  the  fire  of  1805. 

In  1796  and  in  the  subsequent  years  the  people  of  the  parish  were  more  intent 
on  attending  religious  services  than  they  were  in  paying  their  church  dues.  In 
respect  to  letting  their  worldly  affairs  take  precedence  of  their  material  church 
obligations  they  did  not  differ  much  from  the  Protestants.  The  Catholic  priest 
in  1797  was  Gabriel  Richard,  then  a  newcomer.  He  was  well  educated  and  had  a 
spirit  of  progressiveness  along  the  line  of  popular  education  that  was  far  ahead  of 
his  times.     He  was  not  appreciated  by  his  own  church  people  and  they  made  life 


a  burden  to  him  in  many  ways.  However,  he  constantly  worked  for  his  people 
and  for  the  Indians,  whom  he  considered  as  his  special  wards.  Burnet,  in  his 
Notes,  page  282,  relates  that  on  one  occasion  Judge  Symmes,  in  his  charge  to  the 
grand  jury,  endeavored  to  convince  the  French  Catholics  that  they  were  unduly 
attentive  to  their  religious  duties.  The  interference  of  the  judge  with  their 
personal  acts  gave  great  offense  in  the  town. 


The  morals  of  the  community  were  not  above  par  in  any  way.  There  was  a 
large  garrison  composed  of  soldiers  who  had  volunteered  for  Indian  and  frontier 
service  and  who  were,  as  usual,  a  rather  reckless  lot.  In  the  court  records  are 
many  cases  of  rioting  and  of  other  evidences  of  debauchery  and  low  life.  Whisky 
was  a  common  and  cheap  commodity  and  there  is  scarcely  an  account  to  be 
found  in  the  many  account  books  which  have  been  preserved,  that  does  not 
present  many  items  of  whisky  and  rum.  Total  abstinence  was  apparently  un- 
known. With  such  a  wholesale  use  of  liquor  it  is  not  to  be  wondered  that  there 
was  much  privation,  want  and  squalor,  even  in  this  land  of  plenty.  McNifif 
writes:  "The  disorderly  conduct  of  the  inhabitants  by  the  profanation  of  the 
Sabbath  Day,  by  horse  racing,  dancing  and  a  thing  too  common  on  that  day, 
drunkenness;  these  vices  require  the  attention  of  the  legislature  to  pass  a  law  to 
suppress  them. " 

There  were  several  taverns  in  the  village.  As  there  was  very  little  travel,  it 
must  be  understood  that  the  greatest  uses  to  which  a  tavern  could  be  put  was 
to  take  in  boarders  and  sell  rum.  They  were  rum  holes  of  the  worst  kind. 
William  Forsyth  was  among  the  tavern  keepers  and  he  probably  had  the  largest 
place  in  town,  located  upon  the  site  where  the  Michigan  Exchange  was  after- 
wards built.  Then  there  were  Thomas  Cox,  James  Donaldson, — Cornwall  and 
others.  John  Dodemead  kept  a  place  where  liquor  was  sold,  as  noted  in  a  pre- 
ceding page.  These  places  were  not  called  saloons,  but  they  were  places  of 
lounging  and  drinking  and  sometimes  there  were  games  and  billiard  tables  in 
connection.  Warham  Strong  is  put  down  as  a  tavern  keeper  in  the  very  earliest 
of  the  American  record.  A  license  to  keep  a  tavern  was  issued  to  Robert  Kean 
in  1797.     He  had  purchased  the  tavern  formerly  kept  by  Mathew  Dolson. 


There  was  a  strong  feeling  in  Detroit,  and  it  was  probably  universal  in 
America,  that  the  military  department  was  unfriendly  to  a  democratic  form  of 
government  and  was  not  to  be  endured  in  perpetuity.  The  soldiers  in  the 
garrison  were  considered  a  constant  menace  to  the  enforcement  of  civil  law,  and 
conflicts  between  the  two  departments,  civil  and  military,  were  frequently 
arising.  In  1797  Lieut. -Col.  David  Strong  was  in  command  of  the  garrison. 
Many  of  his  soldiers  would  come  into  the  village  from  the  fort,  and  after  drinking 
sufficient  to  make  themselves  uncontrollable,  engage  in  rioting  and  making  dis- 
turbances in  the  streets.  All  of  the  better  class  of  people  wanted  the  disturbance 
stopped.  A  fuller  account  of  this  affair  will  be  found  elsewhere  and  in  this  place 
we  will  give  merely  the  outlines  of  the  subsequent  trouble.  Colonel  Strong 
found  that  a  great  amount  of  the  drinking  was  done  at  Dodemead's  and  it  was  in 
the  second  story  of  this  house  that  the  courts  were  held.  After  warning  the 
garrison  to  desist  from  drinking  and  carousing,  the  colonel  ordered  a  sentry 
stationed  at  the  entrance  to  Dodemead's  place  to  prevent  the  soldiers  from  enter- 
ing.    Immediately  all  of  the  citizens  were  out  with  protests  against  the  attempt 


of  the  militaiy  department  to  interfere  with  civihans'  rights.  An  appeal  was 
made  to  the  court  on  the  ground  that  the  "  eentinal"  coerced  the  court.  Then  an 
appeal  was  made  to  Governor  St.  Clair  and  the  matter  became  so  serious  that 
Colonel  Strong  was  removed  and  sent  to  Ft.  Wayne.  He  was  succeeded  by 
Col.  John  Francis  Hamtramck. 

On  another  occasion  two  soldiers  got  into  a  quarrel  in  a  drinking  place  and 
one  of  them  was  killed.  Solomon  Sibley  was  requested  to  prosecute  the  murderer 
and  he  was  in  great  doubt  about  his  right  to  proceed  when  the  culprit  was  a 

It  frequently  happened  that  the  defendants,  in  a  civil  suit,  pleaded  that  the 
debt  sued  on  was  incurred  while  the  defendant  was  a  soldier  and  the  defense  was 
always  sustained. 

There  were  several  instances  in  later  years  where  soldiers  were  objects  of 
complaint  for  violating  the  rules  and  ordinances  of  the  city  and  they  took  refuge 
under  the  military  cloak.  It  was  contrary  to  a  city  ordinance  to  fish  on  Sundays 
from  the  public  wharf.  The  soldiers  seemed  to  delight  in  using  this  day  of  all 
days  for  that  purpose.  The  protests  of  the  citizens  were  in  vain  and  it  was  im- 
possible to  resort  to  the  courts.  This  over-riding  of  civil  law  was  not  confined 
to  Detroit,  but  was  prevalent  in  all  garrisoned  towns  and  led  the  people  to  fear 
and  to  dislike  that  branch  of  government. 


The  law  establishing  the  Territory  of  Michigan  was  enacted  early  in  the  year 
1805,  but  the  territory  was  not  organized  until  July  ]  st  of  that  year. 

As  before  stated  the  governor  was  William  Hull  and  the  judges  were  Augustus 
Brevoort  Woodward,  Frederick  Bates  and  John  Griffin.  They  had  the  powers 
which  had  been  conferred  upon  the  governor  and  judges  of  the  Northwest 
Territory  of  adopting  laws  from  the  state.  Stanley  Griswold  was  appointed 
secretary.  Almost  immediately  after  they  assembled  in  Detroit  they  began  the 
'adoption  of  laws  necessary  for  the  territory. 

Bj'  proclamation  of  the  governor  of  Julj'  3,  1805,  the  territory  was  divided  into 
four  districts,  called  Detroit,  Erie,  Huron  and  Michilimackinac.  The  district 
of  Detroit  was  bounded  in  front  by  the  Detroit  River  and  on  the  remaining  sides 
by  a  line  commencing  at  the  Detroit  River  five  miles  above  the  center  of  the 
citadel  in  the  village  of  Detroit,  and  extending  westerly  from  that  point  to  the 
line  of  Indian  title  as  established  by  treatj^  thence  south  on  that  line  ten  miles 
and  thence  due  east  to  the  Detroit  River.  The  territory  south  of  this  district 
was  called  Erie  and  that  to  the  north  was  called  Huron,  extending  to  Saginaw 
Bay.  The  territory  north  of  Huron  was  called  the  district  of  Michilimackinac. 
These  were  the  judicial  districts  of  Michigan. 

The  clerks  appointed  for  the  district  courts  were:  Peter  Audrain,  for  the 
supreme  court  and  for  the  district  court  of  the  districts  of  Detroit  and  Huron,  the 
same  to  be  held  in  Detroit;  George  McDougall,  for  the  district  of  Erie,  the  court 
to  be  held  at  Frenchtown  (Monroe) ;  Samuel  Abbott,  for  the  district  of  Michili- 
mackinac, court  to  be  held  at  Mackinac.  Samuel  Abbott,  David  Duncan  and 
Josiah  Dunham  were  appointed  justices  of  the  peace  at  Mackinac.  John  Ander- 
son, Francois  Navarre,  Israel  Ruland,  Francois  Lasselle  and  Hubert  Lacroix  were 
appointed  to  the  same  office  for  the  district  of  Erie,  and  Robert  Abbott,  James 
Henry,  Janiies  Abbott,  James  May,  William  McDowell  Scott  and  Matthew 
Ernest  received  similar  appointments  for  Detroit.     Elisha  Avery  was  first  ap- 


pointed  marshal  of  the  territory,  but  he  declined  the  appointment  and  it  was  given 
to  James  May.  There  was  no  settlement  of  importance  in  the  district  of  Huron, 
consequently  it  was  attached  to  Detroit  for  judicial  purposes. 


The  supreme  court  was  first  convened  at  a  court  room  arranged  for  that  pur- 
pose in  the  house  of  Judge  May  on  July  29,  1805.  At  the  first  session  there  were 
no  cases  for  trial  and  court  adjourned  after  appointing  Peter  Audrain  clerk. 

On  the  following  day  Solomon  Sibley  and  Elijah  Brush  were  admitted  to 
practice  at  the  bar.  The  only  judges  present  at  these  two  sessions  were  Wood- 
ward and  Bates. 

Court  was  not  again  convened  until  September  16,  1805.  In  the  meantime  a 
good  deal  of  building  had  been  done  in  the  burned  district  of  the  village  and  the 
house  of  John  Dodemead  had  been  erected  upon  the  same  lot  before  occupied 
by  him,  at  the  corner  of  Jefferson  Avenue  and  Shelby  Street,  and  here  court  was 
now  opened  bj-  the  marshal  with  the  following  words,  "Attention!  The  supreme 
court  of  the  Territory  of  Michigan  is  now  sitting.  Silence  is  commanded  on 
pain  of  imprisonment."  A  grand  jury  was  called  and  three  of  this  bodj^  Jacob 
Visger,  Antoine  Beaubien  and  Joseph  Campau,  who  failed  to  answer  the  sum- 
mons, were  each  fined  one  hundred  dollars. 

The  first  case  called  was  an  action  against  certain  goods  supposed  to  have  been 
smuggled  into  the  territory  in  order  to  avoid  payment  of  duty.  The  owners  of 
the  goods  were  Isaac  Bissell,  Jr.,  and  Henry  Fitch.  The  attorney  for  the  United 
States  in  this  action  was  Solomon  Sibley  and  Elijah  Brush  represented  the  de- 
fendants. The  first  judgment  was  obtained  the  same  day,  September  16,  1805, 
in  favor  of   George   Meldrum   and   William   Park  against   Adam   Brown   for 


George  Hoffman  was  the  third  attorney  admitted  to  practice  and  Abraham 
Fuller  Hull  was  the  fourth. 

The  first  act,  regarding  a  temporary  seal  for  the  territory,  was  adopted  July  9, 
1805,  and  other  acts  followed  rapidly.  The  office  of  territorial  marshal  was 
created  by  the  act  adopted  July  10,  1805.  An  act  of  July  24,  1805  provided  that 
the  three  judges  appointed  by  the  president  should  constitute  the  supreme  court 
of  the  territory  and  that  the  judge  first  chosen  should  be  the  chief  justice.  The 
court  should  have  exclusive  jurisdiction  in  all  cases  involving  the  title  to  land; 
concurrent  jurisdiction  in  all  cases  involving  two  hundred  dollars  or  more;  and 
appellate  jurisdiction  in  all  cases.  It  had  exclusive  jurisdiction  in  all  capital 
criminal  cases  and  all  cases  of  divorce  and  alimony.  The  court  was  directed  to 
appoint  a  clerk  to  keep  its  records,  admit  attorneys  to  practice,  and  appoint  a 
prosecuting  attorney.  Suits  in  equity  were  not  permitted  if  there  was  an 
adequate  remedy  at  law.  In  equity  trials,  witnesses  should  be  heard  in  open 
court.     Paper,  instead  of  parchment,  should  be  used  in  all  court  records. 

A  district  court  should  be  held  in  each  district  at  least  once  each  year.  The 
judges  of  the  general  or  supreme  court  were,  individually,  to  be  judges  in  the 
district  courts,  which  were  courts  of  record.  The  court  had  jurisdiction  in  all 
cases  where  the  amount  involved  exceeded  twenty  dollars,  excepting  in  cases 
especially  reserved  for  other  courts.  Cases  were  to  be  tried  by  jury  if  demanded. 
The  clerk  of  the  district  court  was  the  appointee  of  the  supreme  court.  In  this 
act,  which  was  passed  July  25,  1805,  nothing  is  said  about  equity  cases.  Ap- 
pointments for  the  district  court  are  listed  upon  a  preceding  page. 


By  the  act  of  August  1,  1805  justices  of  the  peace  had  jurisdiction  in  cases 
where  the  amount  involved  did  not  exceed  twenty  dollars.  Suits  were  begun  by 
capias.  Executions  were  to  be  levied  upon  the  property  of  the  defendant  and  if 
not  satisfied  by  this  process  the  bod_y  of  the  defendant  was  to  be  taken.  Suits 
involving  real  estate  titles  could  not  be  tried  before  a  justice. 

By  the  act  of  August  2,  1805  marriages  could  be  performed  by  justices  of  the 
peace,  ministers  of  the  Gospel  and  by  religious  societies  according  to  their  rules. 
The  marriage  certificate  was  required  to  be  filed  with  the  clerk  of  the  district 

Grand  juries,  with  twenty-four  members,  could  be  summoned  by  either  the 
supreme  or  the  district  court. 

By  act  of  August  14,  1805,  trials  by  jury  were  permitted  in  both  the  supreme 
and  district  courts,  and  juries  de  medietate  linguae  could  be  directed  in  either 
court.  That  is,  the  jury  was  composed  one-half  of  English-speaking  men  and  the 
other  half  of  Canadians  or  Frenchmen.  This  was  a  very  common  way  of  calling 
a  jury  where  either  litigant  was  a  Frenchman  or  Canadian.  Appeals  could  be 
had  from  the  justice  court  to  the  district  court  and  from  the  district  court  to  the 
supreme  court. 

Conveyances  of  land  were  to  be  recorded  bj'  the  clerk  of  every  court. 

The  courts  of  the  several  districts  of  the  territory,  any  judge  in  the  territory, 
and  the  clerk  of  the  court  of  the  district  had  the  power  to  take  the  proof  of  a  will 
and  grant  a  certificate  of  probate.  The  original  will  was  to  be  recorded  in  the  of- 
fice of  the  clerk  of  the  district. 

An  appropriation  of  twenty  dollars  was  made  October  7,  1805  "for  the  special 
services  of  James  May,  marshal  of  the  Territory  of  Michigan,  to-wit:  for  sum- 
moning three  grand  juries,  for  summoning  a  petit  jury  in  a  criminal  trial  and  for 
superintending  the  ei'ection  of  a  bower  for  the  holding  of  a  court. "  The  "bower" 
was  necessary  because  the  entire  town  of  Detroit  had  been  burned  and  there  was 
.  no  house  in  which  to  hold  the  court. 

Alexander  D.  Eraser,  one  of  the  foremost  of  the  old  time  law^'ers  of  Detroit, 
in  an  article  on  the  early  territorial  courts,  writes  as  follows  concerning  the 
transfer  of  government  from  Great  Britain  to  America  in  1796: 

"But  what  became  of  the  laws  which  had  hitherto  been  in  force  in  Michigan, 
and  by  what  process  were  those  of  the  Northwest  Territory  extended  over  the 
country  of  which  possession  had  just  been  obtained?  It  is  a  principle  of  universal 
jurisdiction  that  the  laws,  whether  in  writing  or  evidenced  by  the  usage  and 
customs  of  a  conquered  or  ceded  country,  continue  in  force  till  altered  by  the 
new  sovereign." 

None  of  the  courts  or  procedures  of  Canada  were  continued  by  the  Americans 
after  July  1,  1796.  This  was  probably  owing  to  the  claim  that  Michigan  was 
never  a  part  of  Canada,  but  that  it  formed  portions  of  the  colonial  grants  to 
Massachusetts,  Connecticut  and  Virginia,  whose  jurisdiction  and  rights  were 
surrendered  to  the  general  government  upon  the  passage  of  the  ordinance  of 
1787.  As  soon  as  Wayne  County  was  organized  the  territory  became  subject  to 
the  same  laws  as  the  other  parts  of  the  Northwest  Territory.  As  mentioned 
before,  when  Indiana  Territory  was  organized  Detroit  still  remained  in  the  old 
Northwest  Territory,  but  when  Ohio  became  a  state,  Detroit  was  transferred  to 
the  Territory  of  Indiana.  The  court  of  common  pleas,  the  orphans'  court  and 
the  court  of  quarter  sessions  were  continued  by  the  proclamation  of  Governor 
Harrison  in  the  organization  of  the  new  Wayne  County.     Practically,  these 


matters  are  of  little  importance  for  it  was  only  a  very  short  time  before  Michigan 
Territory  was  organized  and  a  new  life  begun. 

We  have  no  evidence  at  this  time  that  any  change  whatever  took  place.  The 
same  justices  held  office  and  the  same  courts  proceeded  as  if  nothing  unusual  had 
taken  place.  When  Michigan  Territory  was  organized  in  1805  considerable 
changes  took  place,  as  outlined  before. 

Not  a  word  was  said,  at  first,  about  the  recorder's  office  or  the  office  of  the 
register  of  deeds,  but  an  act  was  passed  in  18C5,  requiring  the  clerk  of  any  court 
to  record  deeds  and  conveyances.  These  records,  in  Detroit,  were  all  entered  in 
the  same  books  that  were  begun  under  the  act  of  the  Northwest  Territory.  The 
office  of  judge  of  probate  seems  to  have  continued,  but  no  new  law  was  passed 
on  the  subject  of  that  office.  There  was,  however,  an  act  authorizing  the  dis- 
trict courts  or  any  judge  of  the  district  or  the  clerk  of  the  district  court  to  probate 

In  1806  the  office  of  city  register  was  created  for  the  purpose  of  keeping  a 
record  of  the  conveyances  of  land  within  the  city  of  Detroit,  and  the  first  entry 
was  made  by  Joseph  Watson,  city  register,  November  11, 1806. 

The  first  paper  on  record  was  a  survey  of  the  banking  lot  of  the  Bank  of 
Detroit,  made  by  Abijah  Hull,  surveyor  of  Michigan. 

Affairs  in  territorial  matters  did  not  run  smoothly  from  the  very  start,  for 
there  was  continual  quarreling  between  Hull  and  Woodward,  and  the  other  two 
judges  were  necessarily  involved  in  the  discussions.  Hull  tried  to  control 
matters,  but  Woodward  was  imperious,  domineering  and  fault-finding.  He 
bullied  Hull  and  Griffin  and  pestered  the  life  out  of  the  governor.  Griffin  usually 
sided  with  Woodward  and  got  along  fairly  well  with  him  for  twenty  years.  He 
was  not  considered  a  judge  of  much  ability,  but  was  generally  successful  in  keep- 
ing out  of  the  quarrels  of  his  associates.  Bates  also  succeeded  in  getting  along 
with  the  others,  but  for  a  short  time  only,  when  he  retired  and  moved  to  the 
Territory  of  Missouri,  and  James  Witherell  became  his  successor. 

The  record  of  the  early  laws  passed  by  the  governor  and  judges  shows  that 
on  every  occasion  the  governor  and  at  least  two  of  the  judges  were  present  at  the 
legislative  sessions  and  signed  each  act  in  approval  of  it.  During  the  absence  of 
Judge  Woodward,  who  was  in  Washington  in  the  fall  of  1808,  the  governor  and 
two  judges  passed  an  act  on  November  9th,  making  it  no  longer  necessary  that 
each  act  should  be  signed  by  the  members  present.  This  act  provided  that  of 
the  four  members  of  the  legislative  board,  three  should  constitute  a  quorum  and 
that  when  three  only  were  present,  two  should  be  a  majority  and  that  it  was 
necessary  only  that  the  presiding  officer  should  sign  the  act  and  the  secretary 
attest  it,  to  give  it  validity.  This  act  was  stated  to  have  been  adopted  from  the 
State  of  Vermont.  There  were  forty-five  laws  thus  adopted  and  certified  be- 
tween November  9, 1808  and  May  11,  1809. 

The  act  passed  July  25,  1805,  for  the  establishment  of  district  courts  to  be 
be  presided  over  by  one  of  the  judges  of  the  supreme  court,  was  amended  in  1807, 
so  that  judges  of  the  supreme  court  were  no  longer  eligible  for  the  district  court 

A  new  provision  was  adopted  April  2,  1807,  for  the  establishment  of  district 
courts  to  be  presided  over  by  a  chief  judge  and  two  associates  to  be  appointed  by 
the  governor.  Jacob  Visger  was  chief  judge  of  the  new  court  and  his  associates 
were  John  Whipple  and  James  Abbott.  Abbott  resigned  March  4,  1809,  having 
become  involved  in  a  quarrel  with  Abijah  Hull,  the  governor's  nephew,  and  had 


been  challenged  to  fight  a  duel.  He  neglected  to  accept  the  challenge,  but  the 
governor  took  the  part  of  his  nephew  and  inflicted  upon  Abbott  all  the  punish- 
ment he  could.  He  removed  him  from  all  the  offices  he  held  and  recalled  his 
appointments  as  a  justice  of  the  peace,  associate  judge  of  the  district  court  and 
his  office  in  the  militia. 


The  probate  court  was  established  in  the  Northwest  Territory  by  the  act  of 
August  30,  1788,  but,  of  course,  was  not  established  in  Wayne  County  until  1796. 
The  first  estate  probated  in  Detroit  was  that  of  Amos  Weston,  a  blacksmith. 
John  Askin  was  appointed  administrator  of  the  Weston  estate  and  of  the  estate 
of  George  Knaggs,  August  23,  1797.  These  are  the  oldest  papers  in  that  court. 
Weston  was  a  Canadian  and  died  at  Amberstburgh,  and  his  estate  was  first 
probated  in  Sandwich. 

The  probate  court  was,  in  some  respects,  a  singular  institution.  The  judge, 
Peter  Audrain,  was  an  appointee  of  either  Arthur  St.  Clair,  as  governor,  or  of 
Winthrop  Sargent,  as  governor  pro  tem.  Audrain  continued  to  hold  the  office  of 
judge  of  this  court  under  the  Northwest  Territory,  Indiana  Territory  and 
Michigan  Territory.  He  had  no  new  appointment,  but  acted  always  under  the 
original  and  first.  There  are  only  a  few  files  of  estates  in  the  probate  office 
between  1796  and  1807,  about  sixty  in  all,  and  an  examination  of  them  shows  that 
Audrain  claimed  to  be  probate  judge  and  took  bonds  from  executors  to  himself  as 
judge,  until  sometime  after  the  full  organization  of  Michigan  Territory.  In  the 
estate  of  Jacob  Dicks,  the  will  was  filed  with  "Peter  Audrain  Clerk  of  the  dis- 
trict court  for  Huron  and  Detroit  21  October  1805"  and  the  bond  was  given  to 
"The  United  States  of  America."  From  this  time  on  there  were  no  papers 
signed  by  any  probate  judge  nor  is  that  court  mentioned  until  1807. 

The  papers  in  the  com't  were  in  a  scattered  and  unsatisfactory  condition 
dm-ing  the  remainder  of  the  time  that  Audrain  possessed  them.  On  many  of 
them  is  the  endorsement  "Delivered  over  by  Mr.  Audrain  18  July  1809,  Geo. 
McDougall,  judge  of  probate. " 

Dm'ing  the  time  that  the  district  com't  was  presided  over  by  the  judges  of  the 
supreme  court,  wills  were  presented  to  that  court.  Shortly  after  the  change  in 
the  form  of  the  court  and  the  appointment  of  Jacob  Visger  as  chief  judge,  the  will 
of  George  Hoffman  was  presented  to  the  court  for  allowance.  Visger  refused  to 
admit  the  will  to  probate.  The  supreme  court  issued  a  mandamus  to  compel  him 
to  take  and  probate  the  will,  but  he  refused  to  obey  the  comt  and  offered  to  suffer 
death  rather  than  to  change  his  own  rulings.  The  case  is  a  very  interesting  one 
and  is  quite  extensively  explained  in  Vol.  37  of  the  Michigan  Pioneer  Collections 
on  page  32.  In  this  case  is  discussed  the  legality  of  the  forty-five  laws  passed  by 
Governor  Hull  and  the  two  judges  during  the  absence  of  Judge  Woodward  in 
1808.  Mr.  Visger's  objection,  however,  was  that  the  legislature  had  no  power  to 
repeal  a  law  that  they  had  once  adopted.  He  said  that  there  was  already  a 
probate  court  in  existence  and  that  the  attorney  and  executor  named  in  the  will, 
Solomon  Sibley,  should  have  presented  the  will  to  that  court.  His  absolute 
refusal  to  obey  the  order  of  the  supreme  court  and  probate  the  will  necessitated 
the  production  of  the  will  before  the  supreme  court,  which  was  the  only  other 
court  in  the  territory.  The  will  was  allowed  in  the  supreme  court.  It  is 
barely  possible  that  there  was  another  reason  for  refusing  to  probate  this  will, 
which  never  appeared  on  the  surface.     George  Hoffman,   the  decedent,  had 



married  Margaret  Audrain,  daughter  of  Peter  Audrain.  Hoffman  had  been 
appointed  collector  at  Mackinac  (Michilimackinac)  and  was  Hving  there  at 
the  time  of  his  death.  They  had  one  child,  George  Worthington  Hoffman, 
who  was  about  seven  months  old  at  the  time  of  his  father's  death.  George 
Hoffman,  by  his  will,  gave  all  of  his  property  to  his  father  and  mother,  provid- 
ing that  neither  his  wife  nor  his  then  unborn  son  should  take  any  part  of  his 
estate.  It  is  possible  that  the  injustice  done  the  infant  son  was  one  of  the 
causes  the  district  court  had  in  refusing  to  probate  this  will. 

An  act  was  passed  February  24,  1809,  providing  that  all  laws  of  the  North- 
west Territory  and  of  Indiana  Territory  should  no  longer  operate  in  Michigan. 
This  abolished  the  probate  court  as  operated  bj-  Peter  Audrain. 

District  courts  were  abolished  September  16,  1810.  This  was  done  for  the 
purpose  of  punishing  Visger  and  Whipple  for  refusing  to  obey  the  mandate  of  the 
supreme  court.  The  history  of  this  court  is  very  short  and  full  of  pathos.  It 
was  established  as  the  first  court  of  record  in  which  citizens  of  Detroit  officiated, 
April  2,  1807.  There  were  three  judges  in  the  court,  James  Abbott,  whose  fate 
has  been  narrated,  Jacob  Visger  and  John  Whipple,  who  were  turned  out  of  office 
because  they  refused  to  be  coerced,  as  they  said,  to  do  an  illegal  act.  The 
abolition  of  this  court  left  only  the  supreme  court  as  a  court  of  record. 

There  was  an  act  adopted  and  published  January  31,  1809,  entitled  "An  act 
for  the  probate  of  wills  and  the  settlement  of  testate  and  intestate  estates. " 
The  act  is  very  long,  containing  ninety-seven  sections.  Throughout  the  act,  in 
many  places,  are  references  to  a  "court  of  probate"  and  "judge  of  probate," 
but  it  contains  no  provision  for  the  establishment  of  the  one  or  the  appointment 
of  the  other.  The  basis  of  the  act  rests  upon  the  supposition  that  a  law  alreadj- 
existed  for  the  creation  of  such  a  court  and  the  appointment  or  election  of  a 
judge.  No  such  previous  act  seems  to  exist.  So,  in  another  act,  adopted  Febru- 
ary 26,  1808,  entitled  "an  act  regulating  fees"  there  is  a  provision  for  fees  for 
the  "judge  of  probate. " 

The  laws  that  were  from  time  to  time  adopted  by  the  governor  and  judges, 
were  written  in  book  form  and  signed  by  the  officials.  It  is  known  that  one  book 
containing  most  of  the  acts  of  1806  and  1809  was  lost  and  when  the  official  com- 
pilation was  published  in  1874  the  titles  onlj'  of  these  missing  laws  were  given. 
Subsequently  and  about  the  j'ear  1883  the  writer  hereof  found  a  volume  of  the 
missing  laws,  which  was  printed  the  next  j'ear  (1884)  and  now  constitutes  part 
of  Vol.  4  of  the  Territorial  Laws.  It  is  quite  possible  that  there  is  another  volume 
of  these  acts  that  may  sometime  be  discovered.  As  previously  stated  there  are  a 
number  of  the  old  files  in  the  probate  court  that  are  endorsed  "Delivered  over 
by  Mr.  Audrain  18  July  1809.  Geo.  McDougall,  Judge  of  Probate."  We  would 
conclude  from  this  that  Mr.  McDougall  had  been  appointed  judge  of  probate 
shortly  before  July  18, 1809,  but  no  record  of  such  an  appointment  has  been  found. 
In  file  58J^,  estate  of  Isaac  Jones,  hatter,  McDougall  accepted  the  bonds  of 
Peter  Desnoyers  and  Henry  Berthelet  as  administrators  running  to  "George 
McDougall,  judge  of  the  court  of  Probate  of  Wills  for  the  districts  of  Huron, 
Detroit  and  Erie,  7  Dec.  1809."  The  last  section,  No.  97,  of  the  act  of  January 
31,  1809  provided  that  "every  judge  of  probate  shall  have  a  seal  for  said  court, 
and  shall  appoint  a  clerk  or  register."  The  first  case  in  which  a  register  is  men- 
tioned is  No.  69,  estate  of  Aaron  Truax,  a  brother  of  Abraham  C.  Truax.  The 
administrator's  bond  is  dated  April  24,  1810  and  runs  to  George  McDougall, 
judge  of  probate.     It  is  witnessed  by  Robert  McDougall,  Sr.,  register. 


Harris  Hampden  Hickman  appears  as  register  July  22,  1811. 

During  the  time  of  the  British  occupation  of  Detroit,  from  August  16,  1812 
to  September  29,  1813,  there  were  no  estates  probated.  The  estate  of  John 
Whistler,  Jr.  (19th  U.  S.  Infantr}-)  who  died  at  the  house  of  James  Abbott,  his 
brother-in-law,  December  1,  1813,  was  the  first  probated  after  the  war.  Admin- 
istration was  granted  to  James  Abbott  by  George  ^IcDougall,  "register  of  wills." 

Although  the  act  of  January  31,  1809  provided  for  the  appointment  of  a 
register  of  probate  by  the  judge  of  probate,  there  was  no  provision  for  the  ap- 
pointment or  selection  of  a  judge  of  probate  nor  for  the  establishment  of  a  probate 
court.  An  act  was  passed  November  4,  1815  for  the  appointment  bj'  the  governor 
of  a  register  of  probate  in  each  district  in  the  territory.  The  register  should 
receive  proof  of  and  record  all  wills  and  all  deeds  and  other  writings.  He  practi- 
ally  combined  the  offices  of  register  of  deeds,  judge  of  probate  and  clerk  of  the 
probate  courts.  In  addition  to  these  various  offices,  he  could  "celebrate  the 
rites  of  matrimony. '' 

The  first  IVIichigan  act  for  the  establishment  of  a  probate  coui't  was  passed 
July  27,  1818.  A  court  was  established  in  each  county  and  a  judge  for  each 
was  appointed.  There  was  a  register  for  each  court,  but  his  powers  were  those 
of  a  clerk  only.  Both  the  judge  and  the  register  were  paid  by  fees.  This  act, 
establishing  the  probate  court,  was  reenacted  in  1827. 


The  count}'  court  was  to  consist  of  one  chief  and  two  associate  justices,  to 
have  original  and  exclusive  jm'isdiction  in  civil  cases,  both  of  law  and  equity, 
where  the  amount  involved  exceeded  the  jurisdiction  of  a  justice  of  the  peace  and 
did  not  exceed  one  thousand  dollars.  It  had  no  jurisdiction  in  cases  of  eject- 
ment. It  had  exclusive  cognizance  of  all  offenses  not  capital.  Appeals  could  be 
taken  from  the  justice  com't  to  the  county  court  (October  24,  1815).  Justices  of 
•  the  county  court  could  issue  writs  of  habeas  corpus  (November  8,  1815).  The 
governor  could  appoint  a  master  commissioner  to  take  testimony,  either  in  or  out 
of  court,  in  each  com't  having  a  chancery  jmisdiction  (June  13,  1818).  At  the 
time  the  first  count}'  com't  was  provided  (1815)  there  was  but  one  county  in  the 
territory.  The  provision  was  reenacted  December  21,  1820  and  the  provision 
inserted  that  there  should  be  a  county  com't  in  each  county.  The  county  court 
of  Wayne  County  had  no  jm'isdiction  in  criminal  matters.  Such  cases  were  to  be 
taken  to  the  circuit  court  (March  4,  1831;  act  repealed  November  25,  1834).  In 
Wayne  County  the  county  court  could  not  hear  any  jury  cases,  nor  call  any  jury 
(December  30, 1834.) 

CK.\XE  VS.  eeeder:  a  notable  law  case 

There  is  probably  no  member  of  the  Detroit  bar,  and  few  among  the  older 
citizens  of  Detroit,  who  have  not  heard  of  the  Crane  and  Reeder  controversy-, 
which  involved  the  title  to  a  large  and  valuable  tract  of  land  on  the  Detroit 
River,  near  the  fort,  officially  designated  as  "private  claim  39."  The  history  of 
this  farm  and  of  the  dispute  which  grew  out  of  the  presumably  defective  title  is 
as  follows : 

Some  time  prior  to  the  year  1800  John  Askin  owned  the  land.  Askin  was  an 
extensive  trader  and  merchant  in  the  village  and  was  largely  indebted  to  eastern 
houses  from  whom  he  pm'chased  goods.  Among  his  other  creditors  were  Isaac 
Todd,  a  wealthy  Irish  gentleman  temporarily  living  in  Montreal,  and  James 


Magill  (McGill),  founder  of  McGill  University,  also  of  Montreal.  In  the  financial 
depression  which  occurred  in  1800,  Askin  was  afraid  he  would  fail  in  business,  and 
in  order  to  secure  his  creditors  he  turned  over  this  farm  to  Todd  and  McGill. 
They  had  perfect  confidence — well  placed,  too — in  Askin's  honesty  and  ability 
and  gave  him  a  power  of  attorney  authorizing  him  to  sell  this  land,  and  a  number 
of  other  parcels  in  which  they  were  interested. 

In  the  spring  of  1801  there  was  a  baker  in  Detroit  named  John  Harve}'.  It 
was  subsequently  claimed  that  Harvey  came  to  Detroit  before  the  year  1797,  but 
it  does  not  matter  to  us  when  he  came.  He  was  certainly  here  early  in  1801  and 
kept  a  bake  shop  near  the  southeast  corner  of  Shelby  Street  and  Jefferson  Avenue, 
on  Ste.  Anne  and  Ste.  Honore  Streets,  as  located  in  the  village  as  it  then  existed. 
It  was  in  his  bake  shop  that  the  fire  started  which  destroyed  the  entire  village  in 

In  the  testimony  produced  in  the  case  of  Crane  vs.  Reeder,  it  was  shown  that 
Harvey  was  born  in  Birmingham,  England,  about  May  17,  1751.  He  married 
Mary  Penrice  in  1782,  and  they  had  three  daughters,  Mary  Penrice  Harvey,  Ann 
Reynolds  Harvey  and  Maria  Yorke  Harvey,  all  of  whom  lived  until  maturity, 
and  a  son,  John  Harvej',  who  died  in  infancy.  Mary  was  christened  October  10, 
1783,  Ann  was  christened  in  January,  1786,  and  Maria  was  believed  to  have  been 
born  in  1792.  The  wife,  Mary  Penrice,  died  in  1809.  The  daughter,  Mary 
Penrice,  married  Benjamin  Pierce  and  died  in  1852.  Ann  Reynolds  married 
William  Hart  July  14,  1805  and  was  buried  August  18,  1863.  Maria  Yorke 
Harvey  left  England  October  23,  1822  to  join  her  father  at  Jeffersonville,  Indiana, 
and  there  resided  with  him  until  his  death  on  December  5,  1825.  When  she  came 
to  America  on  the  ship  "London,"  December  13,  1822,  she  gave  her  age  as 
twenty-six  years,  from  which  it  would  follow  that  she  was  born  in  1796,  and 
probably  her  father  left  England  not  far  from  that  date. 

After  the  fire  of  1805,  an  act  of  Congress  was  passed,  giving  the  governor  and 
judges  permission  to  lay  out  a  new  village  plat,  and  authorizing  them  to  give  each 
resident  of  the  old  village  a  lot  in  the  new  one.  Under  this  law,  Harvey  obtained 
three  lots,  one  as  a  donation  and  two  others  as  purchaser  of  the  rights  of  Mrs. 
Thibault  and  Mrs.  Provencal.  There  was  some  evidence  produced  at  one  of  the 
trials  to  show  that  Harvej'  was  living  with  a  woman,  who  claimed  to  be,  but  was 
not,  his  wife.  It  is  certain  that  on  December  19,  1808,  a  donation  lot  was  granted 
to  "Sally  Harvey,  wife  of  John  Harvey. "  This  woman's  name  was  Sally  Wilson 
and  she  was  generally  considered  to  be  the  wife  of  Harvey,  and  was  such  by 
common  law  rights,  for  she  lived  with  him  until  her  death  in  the  year  1822. 

One  of  the  witnesses  in  Detroit  in  the  Crane  vs.  Reeder  trial,  James  Thebaud, 
who  lived  at  L'Anse  Creuse  (or  as  our  learned  brother-in-law,  Henry  Plass,  who 
as  circuit  court  commissioner,  took  the  testimony,  has  it,  he  lived  at  "Long 
Screws")  stated  that  Harvey's  wife  was  "Tall  Kitty"  and  that  she  was  part 
Indian  and  part  French,  that  because  of  her  living  with  Harvey  the  priest  would 
not  admit  here  to  communion.  It  is  certain  that  her  name  was  Sally,  for  the 
records  and  conveyances  from  her  all  give  that  name. 

Harvey  and  his  wife,  Sally,  sold  part  of  their  property  in  Detroit  in  1809,  and 
left  for  New  York  for  the  purpose  of  going  to  England.  This  was  probably  after 
the  death  of  the  rightful  Mrs.  Harvey  in  England,  and  Sally  would  have  been 
received  by  the  Harvey  family  as  the  legal  successor  to  the  name  of  wife.  It  is 
said  that  when  the  couple  reached  the  city  of  New  York,  Mrs.  Harvey  refused  to 
cross  the  ocean,  and  after  a  visit  of  a  few  days  at  that  city  they  returned  westward 


together,  but  not  to  Detroit.  Thej'  took  up  a  residence  in  Jeffersonville, 
Indiana,  and  lived  there  the  remainder  of  their  hvos.  No  children  were  born  of 
this  marriage.  Harvey  sold  the  rest  of  his  lands  in  the  village  of  Detroit  to  John 
R.  Williams  in  1816,  but  did  not  dispose  of  his  farm.  He  appointed  Benjamin 
Stead  his  local  agent  and  the  farm  was  looked  after,  rented  and  taxes  kept  paid 
by  the  agent.  Sally  Harvey  died  in  1822  and  on  April  25,  182-3  John  Harvey 
made  a  deed  of  his  farm  to  his  daughter,  Maria  Yorke  Harvey,  who  had  come 
from  England  to  live  with  him  in  the  previous  December.  This  deed  was  not 
witnessed  and  was  not  admitted  as  evidence  in  the  subsequent  suits  in  Michigan. 
John  Harvey  died  December  5,  1825,  leaving  no  other  children  than  those  born  in 
England,  all  of  whom  were  at  that  time  in  England  excepting  the  one  daughter, 
Maria.  The  latter  married  Edwin  Reeder  May  18,  1825  and  died  after  April  12, 
1828,  leaving  no  children. 

Edwin  Reeder  was  appointed  administrator  of  the  estate  of  John  Harvey 
July  13,  1826.  Shortly  after  the  death  of  his  wife,  Reeder  came  to  the  farm  near 
Detroit,  erected  a  house  and  lived  there  the  remainder  of  his  life.  He  left  a  will, 
which  was  probated  in  Wayne  County,  by  which  he  devised  the  larger  portion  of 
his  farm  to  relatives,  giving  one-tenth  to  the  Unitarian  Church  of  Detroit.  As 
this  land  was  afterwards  claimed  by  the  state  to  have  escheated  for  want  of  heirs 
capable  of  inheriting  real  estate  it  will  be  well  to  see  what  the  laws  relating  to 
real  estate  were. 

It  was  provided,  as  we  have  seen,  that  all  persons  who  were  in  Detroit  in  1794 
and  who  remained  here  one  year  after  Jay's  treaty  became  effective  in  1796  were 
naturalized  by  reason  of  that  treaty.  It  seems  now  that  Harvey  did  not  come  to 
this  country  until  after  1795,  and  could  not  take  advantage  of  the  provisions  of 
that  treaty. 

It  will  be  necessary  here  to  enter  into  all  the  laws  and  repealing  acts  that 
affected  property  in  the  years  between  1796  and  1828.  A  naturalization  law 
was  passed  in  1802  by  Congress.  Two  laws  were  passed  in  1805  permitting 
aliens  to  hold,  buy,  sell  and  inherit  real  estate,  but  both  laws  were  repealed 
before  1821.  The  entire  laws  of  the  parliament  of  Great  Britain  were  repealed- 
so  far  as  concerned  Michigan  in  1810. 

When  the  suit  of  Crane  vs.  Reeder  came  to  be  tried  it  was  claimed  that  the 
act  repealing  the  alien  law,  which  repealing  act  was  passed  in  1821,  was  enacted 
by  mistake  and  that  the  governor  and  judges  intended  to  reenact  the  original 
law  at  once.  There  is  some  authority  to  be  found  in  the  Detroit  papers  of  1828 
to  bear  out  this  supposition. 

On  March  31,  1827  the  alien  law  was  again  enacted. 

Having  thus  hastily  passed  over  the  land  laws  of  that  period  let  us  return  to 
more  modern  times.  Walter  Crane  gave  his  version  of  his  connection  with  this 
land  somewhat  as  follows:  He  was  an  army  paymaster  stationed  at  Louisville, 
which  is  across  the  river  from  Jeffersonville.  One  day  a  man  whom  he  had 
befriended  told  him  that  John  Harvey  formerly  lived  in  Jeffersonville  and  that 
upon  his  death  the  property  owned  by  him  there  had  escheated  to  the  state 
because  he  was  not  a  citizen.  He  also  told  Crane  that  there  was  land  in  Detroit 
in  the  same  situation. 

When  Crane  returned  to  Detroit,  he  commenced  an  investigation  of  the  title 
and  came  to  the  conclusion  that  Harvey  was  an  alien  and  that  his  property  had 
escheated  to  the  state.  He  applied  to  the  state  board  of  escheats  and  after  some 
delay  obtained  a  deed  from  the  state  for  five  thousand  dollars. 


There  were  other  circumstances  connected  with  the  purchase  of  the  land  of  no 
great  concern,  except  that  they  are  interesting.     One  of  these  stories  is  as  follows: 

Just  before  the  time  the  escheat  was  discovered,  the  government  was  seeking 
to  purchase  a  site  for  Fort  Wayne  and  among  the  parcels  of  land  offered  for  that 
purpose  was  this  tract.  The  official  examiner  for  the  government  rejected  the 
land  because  of  the  defective  title,  but  he  admitted  some  one  into  his  confidence 
and  that  person  made  an  application  to  the  state  board  of  escheats  for  a  deed 
of  the  land.  He  was  outbid  by  Crane.  At  the  same  time  another  person,  or 
committee  of  citizens  of  Detroit,  composed  of  Moses  W.  Field,  Henry  P.  Bald- 
win and  others,  attempted  to  purchase  the  rights  of  the  state  and  agreed,  if 
they  were  successful  in  obtaining  the  land,  they  would  convey  it  to  Detroit 
for  a  public  park.  Thej'  also  were  outbid  by  Crane.  When  Crane  had  obtained 
the  deed  from  the  state,  a  cry  of  fraud  was  raised,  that  the  state  board  of  escheats 
had  not  convej-ed  the  land  to  the  proper  applicant,  and  an  investigation  was 
had,  but  nothing  ever  resulted  from  it. 

Crane,  having  obtained  the  deed  from  the  state,  set  about  recovering  posses- 
sion of  the  land  by  commencing  suits  in  ejectment  against  the  persons  who  were 
in  possession  under  Reeder.  He  sought  to  show  that  Harvey  was  an  alien,  and 
had  never  become  naturalized.  In  order  to  make  this  showing  and  produce  the 
proper  records.  Crane  visited  England  three  times,  in  1869,  1873  and  1876.  He 
inspected  every  parish  record,  over  eight  hundred  in  number,  in  Worcestershire, 
and  also  a  number  in  Warickshire  and  other  places.  He  examined  all  the  customs 
house  records  in  New  York  to  ascertain  when  Harvey  and  his  daughter  came  to 
America.  In  order  to  do  this  he  inspected  more  than  10,000  large  volumes  and 
closely  examined  some  800  that  were  selected  from  the  larger  number.  He  was 
not  contented  with  showing  negatively  that  Harvey  was  a  British  citizen,  but  he 
desirfid  to  show  affirmatively  that  he  could  not  have  been  naturalized. 

In  the  great  lawsuits  which  grew  out  of  this  contest — and  there  were  more 
than  a  score  of  them — nearly  all  of  the  prominent  attorneys  of  the  city  took  a 
part.  Messrs.  S.  T.  Douglass,  Sidney  D.  Miller,  WiUiam  P.  Wells,  George  E. 
Hand  and  Herbert  Bowen  at  one  time  or  another  represented  Mr.  Crane,  while 
D.  B.  and  H.  M.  Duffield,  George  V.  N.  Lothrop,  Alexander  D.  Eraser,  Henry  M. 
Cheever  and  Theodore  Romeyn  represented  the  Reedcrs.  The  legal  battle  be- 
gan in  1868  and  was  continued  in  the  circuit  and  supreme  courts  of  Michigan  and 
in  the  United  States  courts  for  ten  j-ears. 

In  the  lower  state  court  the  cases  were  tried  before  a  jury  and  were  uniformly 
decided  in  Reeder's  favor,  while  in  ever^'  instance  on  the  appeal  to  the  supreme 
court,  the  decisions  of  the  lower  court  were  reversed.  The  attorneys  and  persons 
on  both  sides  were  tired  of  their  long  fight,  their  patience  and  their  means  were 
alike  exhausted,  and  they  agreed  to  divide  the  property  between  them  and  cease 
their  litigation. 

In  the  settlement  the  entire  property  was  conveyed  to  Crane  and  he  re- 
conveyed  to  the  Reeder  interests  the  east  354  feet  in  width  of  the  farm,  nearly 

The  judges  before  whom  these  cases  were  tried,  Jared  Patchin  of  the  circuit 
court,  and  Judges  Cooley,  Campbell  and  Christiancy,  have  all  passed  away. 
Nearly  all  of  the  lawyers  and  persons  connected  with  the  case  have  gone  also. 

The  first  case  that  reached  the  supreme  court  is  reported  in  Vol.  21,  page  70 
Michigan  Reports.  The  decision  of  the  judge  is  based  upon  the  supposition, 
first,  that  John  Harvey  was  an  alien  and  his  children  could  not  inherit  his  prop- 


erty;  second,  if  he  was  a  citizen,  that  the  statute  of  1827  did  not  talce  effect  till 
January  1,  1828,  which  was  several  months  after  Mrs.  Reeder  died,  and  con- 
sequently she  could  not  inherit  from  her  father,  for  there  was  no  law  in  force 
permitting  aliens  to  inherit  until  the  law  of  1827  became  operative. 

At  this  trial  all  of  the  testimony  which  was  subsequently  produced  was  not 
put  in  evidence,  but  from  later  developments  it  appears  that  the  law  of  1827 
became  operative  on  the  day  of  its  passage,  March  31,  1827,  and  that  Mrs. 
Reeder  did  not  die  until  nearly  a  year  afterward.  In  all  other  trials  of  the  case  it 
was  contended  that  if  Harvey  ever  became  a  citizen  it  was  by  virtue  of  the  treaty 
of  1794. 

In  searching  through  these  old  papers  and  records  that  have  been  the  founda- 
tion of  this  series  of  articles,  I  have  happened  upon  some  documents  of  exceeding 
interest  and  importance  in  the  Crane  and  Reeder  controversy,  being  nothing  less 
than  the  letters  of  naturalization  of  Jolm  Harvey.  The  first  of  these  papers  is  as 
follows : 

"At  a  session  of  the  supreme  court  of  Michigan  began  and  holden  on  Monday, 
the  twenty-first  day  of  September,  one  thousand  eight  hundred  and  seven,  at 
twelve  of  the  clock,  noon,  at  the  council  house  provided  by  the  marshal  for  that 
purpose  at  Detroit,  the  seat  of  the  government  of  Michigan,  was  present  Augustus 
Brevoort  Woodward,  chief  justice  of  Michigan. 

"John  Harvey,  of  the  city  and  district  of  Detroit,  applied  to  be  made  a  citizen 
of  the  United  States,  the  court  ordered  said  application  to  be  docketted  and 
postponed  the  same  for  further  consideration. " 

On  Thursday,  September  24th  following,  is  an  order  as  follows: 

"In  the  case  of  the  application  of  John  Harvey  to  be  made  a  citizen  of  the 
United  States  of  America,  the  applicant  having  satisfied  the  court  by  four 
witnesses  of  the  time  of  his  residence  in  the'  United  States,  and  of  his  moral 
character  and  attachment  to  the  principles  of  the  constitution  of  the  United 
States  of  America  and  of  his  being  disposed  to  the  good  order  and  happiness  of  the 
same,  he  was  admitted  to  take  the  oath  of  naturalization  and  the  oath  to  support 
the  constitution  of  the  United  States  and  he  was  sworn  accordingly  in  open 

If  these  records  had  been  known  to  the  contestants  before  the  cases  were 
tried,  the  result  might  have  lieen  different. 


MUNICIPAL  govern:\iext 




OF    1857 citizens'    meetings board    OF    ESTIMATES — THE    NEW    CHARTER 



The  first  municipal  government  of  Detroit  was  established  by  the  Legislature 
of  the  Northwest  Territory.  .In  the  session  of  that  body  which  was  convened 
at  Chillicothe  on  November  23,  1801,  Solomon  Sibley  represented  Wayne  County 
in  the  legislative  council,  or  upper  house.  He  presented  a  petition  from  the 
citizens  of  Detroit  in  January,  1802,  asking  for  the  incorporation  of  the  town, 
ajid  followed  the  presentation  of  the  petition  with  the  introduction  of  a  bill 
for  that  pui-pose.  The  measure,  bearing  the  signatures  of  Robert  Oliver,  pres- 
ident of  the  council,  and  Edward  TiiSu,  speaker  of  the  house,  was  approved 
by  Gov.  Arthur  St.  Clair  on  January  18,  1802,  just  five  days  prior  to  the  ad- 
journment of  the  Legislature.  The  progress  of  this  bill  was  not  unimpeded  and 
had  it  not  been  for  the  efforts  of  Solomon  Sibley  there  might  have  been  a  dif- 
ferent outcome.  The  council  proposed  various  amendments  to  the  original  draft 
of  the  bill,  but  the  assembly  failed  to  agree.  Finally,  a  committee  of  confei-- 
ence  was  appointed  and  after  their  discussion  the  bill  was  passed.  At  Detroit 
a  public  celebration  was  held  and  the  "freedom  of  the  town"  was  voted  to 

CHARTER    OF    1802 

The  charter  granted  by  the  act  of  the  Legislature  existed  in  force  until 
the  organization  of  ^Michigan  Territory  in  1805,  when  the  newlj'  appointed 
governor  and  judges  assumed  the  right  to  legislate  for  the  affairs  of  the  city 
as  well  as  for  the  territory;  their  action,  in  effect,  abrogated  the  charter.  This 
charter  of  1802  is  here  copied  in  full : 
"An  Act  to  incorporate  the  town  of  Detroit: 

"Section  1.  Be  it  enacted  by  the  legislative  council  and  house  of  repre- 
sentatives in  general  assembly,  and  it  is  hereby  enacted  by  the  authority  of 
the  same,  That  such  parts  of  the  townships  of  Detroit  and  Hamtramck,  in  the 
County  of  Wayne,  as  are  contained  in  the  following  boundaries  and  limits,  to